Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: April 22

A quick look at what’s happening locally
6 salon - covid-19
The Birmingham location of 6 Salon is now decked out with positive messages. // Photograph courtesy of 6 Salon

The CDC is now reporting 802,583 COVID-19 cases and 44,575 deaths in the U.S. Today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged the state’s hospitals to move forward with scheduled important surgeries, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he will introduce his state’s reopening plan on April 24, Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston said that his city has still not reached its peak of COVID-19 cases, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas called for the city’s businesses to reopen — without social distancing guidelines — in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 999 new COVID-19 cases and 113 deaths. So far, the state has seen 33,966 cases and 2,813 deaths. [Michigan.gov]

In a press conference today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shared that Michigan is no longer in the top five states when it comes to positive COVID-19 cases. The state now ranks sixth, following New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California. Michigan ranks third for most COVID-19 deaths. The governor shared that because of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, Michigan has seen about 64,000 fewer cases than it was projected to potentially reach. Whitmer was joined by the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Dr. Emily Toth Martin, associate professor of epidemiology, and Dr. Marisa Eisenberg, associate professor of epidemiology, complex systems, and mathematics. According to their models, lifting social distancing could potentially result in a resurgence or a second peak of COVID-19. Whitmer says it’s likely that Michigan will need a short-term extension of Stay Home, Stay Safe, and reopening will happen in phases. More details are expected to be released on April 24. The entire conference can be viewed on the Michigan State Police Facebook page. [Facebook: Michigan State Police]

Detroit has seen 733 deaths since the start of the pandemic, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan shared at his press conference in Eastern Market today. He says the numbers are continuing to trend in the right direction, and the city’s hospitals are now reporting the fewest number of occupied critical care beds since the start of the pandemic, as well as the fewest COVID-19 deaths in the hospitals and fewest deaths of ventilator patients. As of yesterday, the TCF Center’s field hospital only had 17 patients. Testing in the city’s nursing homes continues, and Duggan says every nursing home resident will be tested by the end of the day on April 23. So far, 25% of the tests have come back positive. Duggan also said that, while there have been no conversations about the annual Detroit Ford Fireworks, he can’t imagine the event taking place as scheduled. Watch the entire conference on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government]

Frontline Foods, a grassroots organization with nearly 45 chapters across the country and 400 volunteers, has launched in Southeast Michigan. The group works with restaurants, hospitals, and medical facilities to provide meals to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis. So far, Frontline Foods has provided meals to Beaumont Royal Oak, Henry Ford Hospital West Bloomfield, Ascension Providence Southfield, and McLaren Oakland Hospital. The food has been provided by local restaurants such as 2941 Mediterranean Street Food, Olga’s, and StackerZ Deli Coney Island. “I’m originally from Southeast Michigan,” says Ryan Sarver, co-founder of Frontline Foods, “and when I saw how impacted the area was going to be, it was important to me that we jump in and help where we can.” Those interested in supporting can visit, frontlinefoods.org/se-michigan. [Frontline Foods]

The windows of the Birmingham location of 6 Salon, which is closed due to the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, are now decked out in positive notes and thank you messages for local front line workers. Owners George Nikollaj, Johnny Nikollaj, Tomy Lugljuraj partnered with nearly 24 6 Salon employees and about 12 of their kids to create the colorful panels that line the windows. [6 Salon

The Detroit Youth Choir and The Detroit Pistons today released a video in which members of the choir and legendary Pistons players since “Stand By Me” as they shelter in place. Pistons featured in the video include former players Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Chauncey Billups, Richard “Rip” Hamilton, Dave Bing, and current guard Derrick Rose. The video is meant to honor healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as serve as a public service announcement encouraging locals to abide by the governor’s executive order. Timed with the release of the video, owner Tom Gores, vice chairman Arn Tellem, and the Detroit Pistons are also donating $250,000 to the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan’s CPVID-19 health fund. [Detroit Pistons / Detroit Youth Choir]

Starting April 26, the Michigan Department of State will begin temporarily laying off 60% of its staff. The layoffs, which will span over two weeks, will affect 900 staff members, most of whom are not able to work full-time under the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, such as Secretary of State branch office employees. “This is an extremely challenging time for our state, our state government, and our department,” says Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “This decision was not easy, but is necessary to responsibly steward taxpayer funds at this time.” Officials say the layoffs will not impact the department’s services available to the public. [The Office of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Wayne State Physician Group has launched a virtual COVID-19 care clinic intended for those diagnosed with the coronavirus who are isolating at home, discharged individuals who require follow-up care after hospitalization, and people who are showing symptoms and awaiting test results. Dr. Aris Urbanes, chief medical officer of the physician group, says those that the clinic serves have many questions about the coronavirus related to the risk of contagion and how to ease back into the community. “This clinic helps to make sure their recovery is on the right path and is not deteriorating and guides them on when to seek a more acute level of care in the hospital or with a specialist.” The clinic is accepting physician referrals and self-referral patients. To learn more or make an appointment, call 313-745-4525. [Wayne State University Physician Group]

Michigan has likely been hit hard by the coronavirus for reasons such as flights from Asia and Europe, the recent primary election, the auto industry’s international connections, and Detroit’s reliance on public transit, journalist Steve Neavling reports in this week’s Metro Times cover story. Neavling interviewed two dozen epidemiologists and public health experts for the piece, which can be read in the alt-weekly’s digital edition and on its website. [Metro Times]

A new study from the University of Michigan finds that more adults are consuming alcohol and marijuana to cope with the stress of the coronavirus crisis, and U-M associate professor of social work Shawna Lee, who served as the report’s lead author, says that mental health professionals need to be prepared for an increase in substance use issues. Nearly 22% of the survey’s participants said they were using alcohol more since the start of the pandemic, and 1 in 7 said they are using marijuana. Meanwhile, at least 50% reported feeling symptoms of anxiety nearly every day or at least several days a week since the start of the pandemic. [University of Michigan]

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