Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: March 30

A quick look at what’s happening locally
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Beaumont Health is encouraging the community to tie blue ribbons around trees as a sign of support for local healthcare workers facing the COVID-19 pandemic. // Photograph courtesy of Beaumont Health

The CDC reported on March 30 that there are now 140,904 cases of COVID-19 and 2,405 deaths in the U.S. While drive-up test sites are now popping up in cities across the country, according to The New York Times, the U.S. is falling behind other countries in the number of tests it has administered. Yet, President Donald Trump said today that the amount of testing is still not an issue. U.S. governors, including Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, maintain that Trump’s claims are not accurate.

 

Testing, social distancing, and providing healthcare workers with necessary medical supplies have remained the top strategies locally to combat the coronavirus. This past weekend, the city of Detroit ramped up daily testing at the new drive-up test site at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The North American International Auto Show — scheduled for June 2020 — was postponed to 2021 so the TCF Center in Detroit could be used as a field hospital. And actor Mark Wahlberg posted on Instagram that his chain of burger restaurants, Wahlburgers, was donating food to Beaumont workers as well as iPads to help patients communicate with their families. Here’s what happened in metro Detroit today:

 

There are now 1,012 new COVID-19 cases reported in Michigan and 52 new deaths. To date, there have been 6,498 cases in the state and 184 deaths. [Michigan.gov

 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed two supplemental budget bills that will provide $150 million in state funding this year for Michigan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the state has spent $130 million fighting the coronavirus. The funds have paid for items such as 20 million masks, more than 2,000 ventilators, nearly 9 million ounces of hand sanitizer, and more than 255,000 boxes of gloves. [Michigan.gov

 

A story published by The New York Times today says that Michigan ranks fourth in its number of COVID-19 cases in the country — the state follows New York, New Jersey, and California. It is fifth with its number of deaths. The piece covered how local hospitals, businesses, and residents, many of whom have higher rates of underlying conditions, are being affected as the coronavirus pandemic spreads in the city of Detroit. [The New York Times

 

In a news conference, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that, while the number of positive cases in the city will continue to grow over the coming weeks, new strategies are helping Detroit get ahead of the coronavirus. Today, there were 660 COVID-19 tests administered at the Michigan State Fairground site, which opened on March 27. This amount of testing, Duggan said, is at the level a major city and state should be at. Duggan also asked that physicians in the city call 313-361-0093 within the next 24 hours and share if they’re able to take patients. The city plans to post a list of resources on its website by 3 p.m. on March 31 that outlines which doctors can see people now. Watch the entire conference on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government

 

Henry Ford Health System is utilizing a 39-foot bus that will serve as a mobile medical clinic for newborn follow-up appointments while the health system continues to see more COVID-19 cases at its hospitals. The clinic, located at Henry Ford’s corporate office at One Ford Place Detroit, operates every day from 9 a.m. to noon. During 30-minute appointments, pediatricians will conduct physical exams, check the weight of infants, provide counseling, and more. “Newborns are some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” says doctor Maureen Conolly, who is the medical director of Henry Ford’s School-based and Community Health Program. “By seeing them on our mobile medical unit, they’ll be in an environment that’s separate from where other patient care is taking place, which adds another layer of safety for them.” [Henry Ford

 

Members of the National Guard will begin assisting food banks in Ann Arbor, Comstock Park, Flint, and Pontiac. The members, 10 of which will be stationed at each site, will start work today and continue through mid-April. They will help with food distribution, direct traffic for drive-through sites, and assist with packaging bags and handing them to cars. “I could not be more proud of their service, commitment, and determination, and they are making a difference in the state’s response to COVID-19,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a press release. [Michigan.gov

 

Whitmer also signed an executive order today that restricts non-essential veterinary procedures. The order goes into effect on March 31, and, under it, only veterinary services that are deemed necessary to “preserve the life of a pet” will be allowed. Veterinarians and their technicians are encouraged to practice telemedicine during this time. [Michigan.gov

 

Beaumont Health is launching a campaign on March 31 that encourages the community to recognize healthcare workers who are working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Called Home Beams for Health Care Teams, those interested in supporting the campaign can participate in several ways. You can tie a blue ribbon around trees at your home, step on your porch at 8 p.m. every night and shine a flashlight toward your nearest hospital, and swap your porch light with a blue lightbulb. The hospital system says those who join in should post videos and photos on social media using the hashtag #HealthCareHeroes. [Beaumont

 

The University of Detroit Mercy has launched a crowdfunding campaign to provide emergency funding to its students that are impacted by the coronavirus. The COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund will help students who need financial assistance moving back in with their families, who need to purchase technology required for their online classes, or who have lost their jobs. As of this afternoon, the fund had raised more than $7,000. To donate, visit justigiving.com/campaign/emergencyfund. [University of Detroit Mercy

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