Michigan approaching 10K COVID-19 cases, has 300+ deaths

TCF Center in Detroit, April 1, 2020 | Ken Coleman photo

Michigan is up to almost 10,000 reported cases of COVID-19, as the state posted 1,719 new cases Wednesday. There were 1,117 new cases Tuesday — which was previously the most registered. 

A statewide coronavirus hotline is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136. Information can be found on the DHHS website or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website.

Michigan also recorded 78 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 337.

With 9,334 total cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, Michigan could overtake California in number of cases. As of Tuesday, Michigan had the fourth-most cases in the nation, behind New York, New Jersey and California, per Johns Hopkins University tracking.

State health officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher, but there’s been a testing shortage. They’ve also warned that Michigan will continue to see a rise in cases until measures like the “stay at home” order that went into effect March 24 start to “flatten the curve.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to announce this week that school buildings, which have been closed since March 16, likely will not reopen for the school year.

Only 16 of Michigan’s 83 counties have not registered COVID-19 cases. Twenty-two counties have reported deaths.

Southeast Michigan continues to be the hardest hit. In Detroit — the only city with its own health department — the number of COVID-19 cases shot up from 2,080 Tuesday to 2,472 Wednesday, with deaths growing from 75 to 83. For the rest of Wayne County, there are now 1,998 cases and 63 deaths.

The TCF Center in Detroit is being transformed into a field hospital with roughly 1,000 beds, established in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. National Guardsmen and women are assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the operation through Wednesday, as the Advance previously reported.

“We’re preparing as if the surge is still coming,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said of the field hospital at a Wednesday press conference.

Elsewhere in metro Detroit, Oakland County has 1,910 cases and 99 deaths. Macomb County has 1,088 cases and 51 deaths.

The new state-reported numbers only recently began incorporating data from other commercial and private labs and hospitals around Michigan, which caused an apparent spike in numbers that speaks more to the number of cases just now being publicly reported.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10. Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

Johns Hopkins reports that there are more than 911,300 confirmed cases worldwide and almost 46,000 deaths. In the United States, there are more than 203,000 confirmed cases and almost 4,500 deaths.

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.