Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: April 23

A quick look at what’s happening locally
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FCA covid-19
Pre-kindergartener Ryan Louwert, 5, colors a Jeep Gladiator as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s virtual Bring Your Kids to Work Day @Home event. // Photograph courtesy of FCA

The CDC is now reporting 828,441 COVID-19 cases and 46,379 deaths in the U.S. The House of Representatives gathered today to vote on a $484 billion bill that will help small businesses and provide more funding for testing and hospitals. The house also voted to create a committee that will investigate the Trump administration’s coronavirus response and relief efforts. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also shared today that 21% of New York City’s residents may have antibodies for the coronavirus. If this is true, then the state’s number of cases is likely significantly higher than the official count. And, while some states are starting to reopen as soon as this week, the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s coronavirus model — often cited by the White House — is projecting that Georgia won’t be able to safely begin reopening until at least June 22, Florida until June 14, New York until May 27, and Michigan until May 18-May 24. The updated model also estimates that 67,641 people are predicted to die by August in the country. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 1,325 new COVID-19 cases and 164 deaths. As a result of a review of old death records, today’s data includes 55 additional deaths. So far, the state has seen 35,291 cases and 2,977 deaths. [Michigan.gov]

In a special press conference this morning, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was joined by Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy; Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) superintendent; Bill Emerson, vice chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Holdings, Inc.; Tonya Allen, Skillman Foundation president and CEO; and Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP. The group announced plans for a new Connected Futures program, which is making a $23 million investment to provide 51,000 DPSCD K-12 students with computer tablets and internet before the end of the school year. Since schools closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus, students have had to complete their work at home. The program aims to bridge the digital divide for the district’s students — 90% of whom DPSCD estimates do not have access to a device and the internet to complete online learning. The program will also benefit student’s parents, who need internet and devices to access job boards and financial assistance sites. “If these households had laptops, they could access the jobs and the job training right on site,” Duggan said. “We can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty not just by improving the education of the children but by creating opportunities for their parents.” Watch the entire conference on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a nonprofit with a metro Detroit location that serves Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties, is among the organizations receiving funding from a partnership between Beyoncé Knowles’ charity BeyGood and Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s Start Small campaign — a COVID-19 relief fund that kicked off on April 7 with a $1 billion investment from Dorsey. As part of the partnership, $6 million is being donated to community-based organizations that are supporting the areas that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. For more information and to donate, click here. [National Alliance on Mental Illness – Metro-Oakland, Wayne, & Macomb Counties / Beyoncé Knowles / Jack Dorsey]

In an interview with MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer elaborated on her plan to issue another executive order that will extend some Stay Home, Stay Safe restrictions while easing up on others. “We will have some form of an order that continues to protect public safety, even as we have waves of re-engagement of our economy,” she said. “But each time we have a wave, we’re going to measure to see are we’re still safe or do we have to even consider pulling back a little bit.” Watch the video, here. [MSNBC

Henry Ford Health System is temporarily furloughing 2,800 of its employees, and its executive team and senior leaders will be contributing 10%-25% of their salaries to two funds created to help those staff members. The six-hospital health system saw a $43 million loss in operating income in March due to the postponement or cancellation of procedures, temporary site closures, and an increasing need for resources such as personal protective equipment to treat COVID-19 patients. Officials with Henry Ford say that losses for April and May of this year are expected to surpass March. [Henry Ford Health System]  

Kroger is bringing its free COVID-19 testing to Detroit. The company, which already has sites in Kentucky and Tennessee, will open the testing to healthcare workers, first responders, and symptomatic individuals. Kroger has worked in partnership with local communities to identify its testing sites, which are located off-site at closed schools, businesses, and public grounds. For more information, visit krogerhealth.com/covidtesting. [Kroger]

According to the state of Michigan, the Michigan Unemployment Agency has now provided 820,000 workers with $1.37 billion in unemployment benefits. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 1,178,021 Michiganders have filed for unemployment benefits since March 15. Last night, Gov. Whitmer signed a new executive order that expands eligibility for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the new order, workers who left a job after accepting new employment but were unable to start the position due to the pandemic will be eligible for benefits. The order also expands cost-sharing with employers to reduce layoffs and allows anyone with an active claim to receive up to 26 weeks of benefits. [Michigan.gov

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has moved its Bring Your Kids to Work Day celebration online. Today, the Auburn Hills-based auto company launched a Bring Your Kids to Work @Home virtual experience for the children of FCA’s more than 60,000 U.S. employees. The offering features video tours, a career assessment test, and online and off-line activities that educate kids about careers in the automotive industry. “Now more than ever, parents are seeking creative ways to educate and entertain their school-aged children who are home while they’re working,” says Kelly Tolbert, vice president of Global Talent, Leadership, and Learning at FCA. “Rather than postpone our event until next year, we decided to create a program that allows our U.S. employees to participate with their children.” [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

According to a new report by Zillow, Detroit is among the top metro areas in the country that have seen pending home sales fall in the second half of March. The city saw its pending sales fall by nearly 67%. In the first half of April, the city also saw its new for-sale listings drop nearly 65%. “Real estate transactions and new listings have declined abruptly amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but we haven’t yet seen prices significantly affected,” says Jeff Tucker, an economist at Zillow. “Buyers have pulled back in the face of new economic uncertainty, but sellers are also shying away from listing their homes in a market that was already starved for inventory, so it is possible that home prices remain insulated, at least in the short-term.” [Zillow