Gov. extends emergency declaration as COVID-19 cases rise

Michigan reports additional 584 cases, 6 deaths

DHHS photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday signed a new executive order that extends her previous emergency and disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic until Aug. 11.

“COVID-19 has now killed more than 6,000 people in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “That’s more than 6,000 of our parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. And the rising numbers we’ve seen over the past few weeks prove that this virus is still a very real threat in our state,” said Governor Whitmer.

She said the measure is designed to “ensure that the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis have the tools they need.”

“If we all do our part now, there is a greater chance that schools can resume in-person learning in the fall,” Whitmer said. “Be smart, be safe, and mask up.”

DHHS reported Tuesday that 70,306 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,081 have died from the virus — an additional 584 cases and six deaths since Monday.

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) also notes that an additional 7,558 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 245 probable deaths. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5. Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 77,864 statewide cases and 6,326 deaths.

High case numbers in Michigan — specifically, those in Kent County and the Grand Rapids region — have caught the eye of federal officials. Whitmer on Tuesday told the Advance that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said a COVID-19 Response Assistance Field Team (CRAFT) is going to that area. Those teams have been in other states with large numbers of cases to slow the virus, as the Advance previously reported.

Cases are growing in 39 states and in some are surging uncontrollably, Whitmer pointed out.

The Ingham County Health Department, which serves the high-risk Lansing region, is recommending — not requiring — a 14-day self-quarantine for constituents who visit states at high risk for a COVID-19 outbreak. States classified as high risk by Covid Act Now currently include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas.

The virus has now been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. Ontonagon County in the western U.P. had been the last county not to report any cases, but now has one case. 

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The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate has fallen slightly to 8.6%.

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 University reports that there are 13.1 million confirmed cases worldwide and 574,793 deaths. One-quarter of those are in the United States, where more than 3.3 million confirmed cases and 136,117 deaths have been recorded.

The pandemic also has taken its toll on the economy. During the crisis, Michigan has often processed more unemployment claims in a single day than in the worst week of the Great Recession, and the state already saw its highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. The Michigan Department of Treasury predicts that this year the state will lose between $1 and $3 billion in revenue.

“COVID-19 still poses a threat to families across Michigan, and it’s crucial that Gov. Whitmer continue to take swift action to save lives,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and DHHS chief deputy for health. “Michiganders should all continue to do their part by wearing a mask and practicing safe physical distancing. We will get through this when we work together.” 

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.
C.J. Moore
C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She is a journalism graduate student at Michigan State University.