Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: April 15

A quick look at what’s happening locally
mobile covid-19 testing
Ford Motor Co., Wayne State University Physician Group, and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services are launching mobile COVID-19 testing in Michigan. // Photograph courtesy of Ford Motor Co. 

The CDC — which has changed its counting to now include probable cases — is now reporting 605,390 COVID-19 cases and 24,582 deaths in the U.S. Meanwhile, John Hopkins, which uses slightly different data than the CDC, reported more than 2 million cases globally today. As cases grow, leaders from around the world are expressing their disappointment in President Donald Trump’s recent decision to halt funding to the World Health Organization, which Trump believes has mismanaged and covered up the spread of the coronavirus in China. According to The New York Times, the United States contributes more than $400 million — nearly 10% of WHO’s budget — to the organization every year. António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, said that “it was no time to halt funding,” while African Union chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said the decision was “deeply regrettable.” Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit: 

The State of Michigan today reported 1,058 new COVID-19 cases and 153 deaths. In total, the state has seen 28,059 cases and 1,921 deaths. [Michigan.gov

A group of more than 100 protestors — some of whom were sporting Make American Great Again hats and holding Confederate flags — broke social distancing protocols today as they gathered directly outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order. The Michigan Conservation Coalition and Michigan Freedom Fund organized the display, which is named Operation Gridlock, as they believe that the executive order is too strict and that their rights have been infringed upon. Despite congregating in person, a Facebook page for the event says that the intention was for protestors to stay in their vehicles and create a traffic jam around the Capitol Building at noon on April 15. The thousands who did show up and stay in their vehicles did just that, and they were encouraged by organizers to honk their horns, paint their vehicles, and bring signs. Later in the day, Gov. Whitmer, who was on a Zoom call with Michigan healthcare professionals while the rally took place, held a press conference. She said that she understood the frustration during this time, and she supported the right to free speech, but she urged the protestors to not put themselves and others at risk. “It was really disappointing to see people congregating, not wearing masks. I saw someone handing out candy to little kids, bare handed,” she said. “When people are flying the Confederate flag and unknown numbers gassed up on the way here or grabbed a bite on the way home, we know that this rally endangered people. This kind of activity will put more people at risk, and sadly it could prolong the amount of time we have to be in this posture.” The entire conference, which begins with an update on how the state is handling the pandemic, can be viewed on Michigan State Police Facebook page. [Facebook: Michigan State Police

In a press conference at Eastern Market, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan shared that the city saw 45 new COVD-19 deaths today, bringing its total to 469 deaths. He continued, “while the number of deaths is higher today, all the data we’re seeing continues to go a positive direction. The number of patients in the hospital are down, the number of patients on ventilators are down significantly.” The TCF Regional Care Center, which opened on April 10, has 16 patients. The mayor believes that if the city continues to make progress, the center will only fill 200-250 of its 970 beds. So far, the city has administered 420 instant COVID-19 tests in its nursing homes, and 35% of those tests have come back with positive results. In the coming week or so, Duggan says another 2,000 nursing home individuals will be tests. Watch the entire conference, which also includes more details on Duggan’s plans to address the city’s projected $384 million budget shortfall, on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government

Officials with Detroit Medical Center announced today that 480 employees at the health system will be furloughed. Many of DMC’s employees continue to work on the front lines during the pandemic, but as a result of the Stay Home, Stay Safe and government restrictions on elective procedures, some of the health system’s hospital units are not being used. The furloughs will not impact DMC’s COVID-19 care. [Detroit Medical Center]  

Fifty ventilators, on loan from the State of California inventory, are expected to arrive in Lansing today. “As California continues to flatten our curve in the fight against COVID-19 we have a moral and ethical imperative to help our fellow Americans,” Newsom says. “We are pleased to be able to assist Governor Whitmer and the people of Michigan who are rising to meet the moment in their own fight to protect public health and safety.” [Michigan.gov

As the first stimulus checks from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act are being sent out to Americans this week, Wayne County Friend of the Court has released a statement outlining how it will intercept stimulus checks for some individuals who are not up to date with their child support payments. The court will intercept checks from individuals who owe $150 or more in support if their child is receiving cash assistance or is in foster care as well as those those who owe $500 or more if their child is receiving Medicaid only or is receiving no state assistance. [Wayne County Friend of the Court

Ford Motor Co., Wayne State University Physician Group, and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) have partnered to launch mobile COVID-19 testing. Ford will supply vehicles, drivers, and equipment, while the Physician Group and ACCESS are providing staffing and medical kits. Each vehicle will have the capability to test 100 people a day, and results will be returned in 24 to 36 hours. The mobile testing is starting in southeast Michigan and plans to travel to cities such as Battle Creek, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. [Ford Motor Co. / Wayne State University Physician Group / ACCESS

Wayne State has finalized agreements with Henry Ford Health System and Detroit Medical Center to house the organizations’ healthcare workers at one of the university’s residence halls, which can accommodate more than 200 guests. Nina Ramsey, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Henry Ford, says that many of the healthy system’s employees travel 50 miles or more for work and they’re working longer shifts during the crisis. Housing is also needed for healthcare workers who traveled from out of state to help the Detroit area during the pandemic. Guests can check into a room at any time using a kiosk, and they have access to a snack bag and linens, WiFi, community kitchens, and in-building laundry. [Wayne State University

YpsiWrites, a program intended to support the Ypsilanti writing community, has launched online offerings for teens and adults. Included in the new programing is virtual writing support, online writing resources, nature writing prompts, journaling prompts, and zine activities. The program is a collaborative effort between Eastern Michigan University’s Office of Campus and Community Writing, the Ypsilanti District Library, and 826michigan. [YpsiWrites

Southgate will open its first drive-thru COVID-19 test site tomorrow at the Sam’s Club at 15700 Northline Road. The site is made possible through a collaboration with Walmart and Quest Diagnostics, and those who meet CDC eligibility for testing can sign up for an appointment at myquestcovidtest.com. Tests results are expected to be available in about two days. [City of Southgate

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