Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: April 10

A quick look at what’s happening locally
FCA bill murray - covid-19
Auburn Hill-based FCA is launching social media campaigns that encourage Americans to stay at home. As part of the campaign, Jeep shared a video on April 10 that features a scene with Bill Murray and compares this moment in time to Groundhog day. // Photograph courtesy of FCA

The CDC reports that there are now 459,165 cases of COVID-19 and 16,570 deaths in the U.S. New data shows that while the curve is beginning to level out in certain areas, new cases and deaths are still growing in the country. As many governors sign new orders requiring citizens to stay home — and others, such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, extend orders that were already in place — The New York Times reports that data from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services indicates that a spike in COVID-19 cases is expected if shelter-in-place orders are lifted at 30 days. Meaning, despite President Donald Trump’s initial goal to reopen the country by Easter, it’s likely that shutdowns will be in effect much longer. The finding is troubling for the many Americans who are eager to get back to work, including owners of non-essential businesses and the more than 16 million U.S. citizens who have filed for unemployment in the past few weeks. Yet, in an interview with Yahoo! Finance, former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said that ending the shutdowns too early would ultimately be detrimental for the economy. “I don’t think we can go through a full-fledged reopening of our economy without testing,” Cohn told the outlet. “We would jeopardize ourselves going back into another full-fledged outbreak in the United States and then having to shut our economy down again.” Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 1,279 new COVID-19 cases and 205 deaths. To date, there have been 22,783 cases and 1,281 deaths in the state. [Michigan.gov]

To honor those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered that U.S. and Michigan flags be lowered to half-staff indefinitely starting today. “The flags lowered will serve to remind us all that every life lost is a story and legacy of a loved one gone too soon,” she says. [Michigan.gov]

Starting April 13, self-employed workers, gig workers, independent contractors, and low-wage workers in Michigan can apply to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. To apply, individuals are encouraged to visit michigan.gov/uia for the fastest service. Once approved, workers can expect to receive federal benefits as early as April 20. [Michigan.gov]

At today’s news conference in Eastern Market, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan shared that, in total, 326 Detroiters have died of COVID-19. Seven of the deaths reported today were in Detroit nursing homes. “Our most vulnerable citizens are dying in a helpless manner,” Duggan said, also mentioning that 1,200 individuals in nursing homes and homeless shelters will be tested for COVID-19 in the next week using the 15-minute tests. The mayor also said that starting next week, Detroit police officers, firefighters, bus drivers and other essential workers who interact with the public will receive $800 a month in hazard pay. The entire conference can be viewed on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government]

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Auburn Hills is launching social media campaigns to encourage Americans to stay at home as well as honor those who are working on the front line. Today the company’s Jeep brand debuted a video repurposing its 2020 Super Bowl commercial with Bill Murray, which featured the actor reprising his role as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. Part of the brand’s “#StayOffTheRoad” campaign, the video reads, “We understand that every day is starting to seem the same. Stay home. Stay healthy. When this is all over, the trails will be waiting.” Campaigns will also be featured on the social media pages for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Ram. [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

As the busy season for real estate approaches, a new analysis from Zillow is showing that Detroit is among the cities with the greatest slowdowns in new listings. From March 1 to April 5, the city saw a nearly 62% decrease. Yet, while new listings decreased drastically, the number of total listings during this time only fell 3.5%. Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow, believes that many would-be sellers are waiting to see how economic conditions and unemployment play out. “It is possible that this year’s busy home shopping season is pushed into winter as some opt to hang back, but activity continues from those who need to buy or sell for a job move or another major life event,” Olsen says. “What’s not likely is that the bulk of potential home sellers and buyers simply throw up their hands and pull back from the market entirely.” [Zillow]

Detroit-based Insurance company Meridian Health Plan has donated 25,000 disposable face masks to the Michigan Primary Care Association. The masks will be distributed to healthcare workers in areas across the state that are most in need. “We are honored to make this donation to help ensure providers on the front lines have the equipment they need to treat our members and local communities during this pandemic,” says Sean Kendall, president of Meridian. [Meridian Health Plan]  

Proper Group, a company headquartered in Warren that supplies tooling and manufacturing for the plastics industry, has launched a medical business unit that will develop and manufacture products and components for medical equipment, such as key parts used to produce ventilators at General Motors Co. Proper Group is also producing face shields for Henry Ford Health System. In the next three weeks, the medical business unit is expected to produce more than 40,000 shields. [Proper Group]

Henry Ford Health System is reporting that a 58-year-old female COVID-19 patient who developed a rare form of encephalitis — inflammation of the brain typically caused by a viral infection — has been discharged to a rehab facility. The woman is considered to have the first case of COVID-19 linked to encephalitis, and doctors with Henry Ford say her case has proven that there’s reason to monitor patients who test positive for the coronavirus and appear to have an altered level of consciousness. [Henry Ford Health System]

The TCF Center is now open as an alternate care facility. The facility will accept up to 25 patients today and will be able to care for 250 patients by the end of next week. The 350,000-square-foot space features patient support services, staff changing areas, a pharmacy, administrative space, and 970 beds across two floors. “The TCF Regional Care Center will save lives and ensure those suffering some of the worst cases of COVID-19 get the critical care they need as cases in the state continue to grow,” Gov. Whitmer says. [Michigan.gov]

Southfield-based Lear Corp. is taking measures to weather the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Starting on April 16, the company’s salaried employees in the U.S. and Canada will be required to take a temporary 20% salary deferral, Lear Corp. President and CEO Ray Scott’s salary will be reduced 10% and other executive salaries will be reduced 5%, and the company’s Board of Directors cash retainer fees will be reduced by 25% for the rest of the year. [Lear Corp.]  

Airbnb has partnered with Bedrock Detroit on its new Online Experiences initiative. The collaboration, which can be accessed by visiting airbnb.com/online-experiences, features digital classes with Bedrock tenants such as Yoga, Philosophy, and Stress Management with Citizen Yoga, A Motorcity Workout Party with Vibe Ride, and Savor Spain in the Comfort of your own Home with La Feria. These three offerings, which are several of the many available through Airbnb’s Online Experiences, range from $15-$25 a person. Classes can be accessed using a computer, phone, or tablet. Bedrock and Airbnb will continue to work together over the coming weeks to encourage more local businesses to get involved. [Bedrock Detroit / Airbnb]  

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Emma Klug is a senior editor and digital content coordinator at Hour Detroit. In her role, Klug writes and edits stories on community, art, food, and lifestyle topics for hourdetroit.com, edits the Hour Daily newsletter, and is involved in planning and proofing the monthly print magazine. She also oversees the editorial web internship program for the magazine. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Klug has been with Hour Detroit since 2016. She has also contributed to Hour Media publications DBusiness magazine and Metro Detroit Weddings magazine. You can reach her at eklug@hour-media.com.