Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: April 29

A quick look at what’s happening locally
eastern michigan university - covid-19
Eastern Michigan University, pictured above, is among the many higher-ed institutions offering a test-optional admission policy for Fall 2020. // Photograph courtesy of Eastern Michigan University

The CDC is now reporting more than 1 million cases and 57,505 deaths in the U.S. The government continues to focus on supporting nursing home and other facilities that serve the elderly as they have been hit hardest by the coronavirus. CNN reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing to send surgical masks, gowns, and gloves to nursing homes across the nation. And Gov. J.B Pritzker announced today that Illinois — which has seen at least 625 deaths at long-term living facilities — is deploying 500 nurses to long-term living facilities to conduct swab test training. In other news, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced staff furloughs today, the White House is preparing for President Trump to possibly resume travel outside of Washington D.C. in the near future, and the Empire State Building in New York City will light up in blue tonight to honor workers with the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 1,137 new COVID-19 cases and 103 deaths. So far, the state has seen 40,399 cases and 3,670 deaths. []

During his daily press conference at the Detroit Police Department headquarters, Mayor Mike Duggan shared that the city has now seen 1,008 COVID-19 deaths. Of those deaths, 216 were nursing home residents and three were nursing home staff. However, Duggan said numbers continue to decline, and hospital beds are down and there are only 14 patients at the TCF Center field hospital. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s unimaginable where we would be if we had not dropped the infection rates.” The mayor also announced that the city is moving forward with the $110 million worth of work — including jobs in road, water and sewer, construction, and landscaping work — it awarded 16 contractors before the pandemic. The city will require each worker to be tested before entering the job site, among other health and social distancing precautions. Watch the entire conference on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government]

Through its new Campaign for a Cause, Detroit-based StockX is raffling off donated goods from celebrities such as model Karlie Kloss, runner Usain Bolt, comedian Hasan Minhaj, DJ and producer Steve Aoki, and rapper Ludacris to raise money for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization. Among the items are an autographed track vest from Bolt and autographed sneakers from Ludacris. To enter the raffle, which is now live on the StockX website, participants can make a $10 donation on any of the items available through the campaign. [StockX]

As ACT and SAT testing has been called off due to the pandemic, Eastern Michigan University is instituting a test-optional admission policy for first-year domestic students applying for the school’s Fall 2020 semester. “We’ve made this decision in recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic has limited students’ ability to participate in standardized testing,” says Alex Landen, interim associate director of first-year admission at Eastern. “We want to focus on creating educational opportunities that are accessible to our students as we continue to fill our role not only in academia but in our community.” To be considered for test-optional admission, a student must apply to Eastern Michigan, meeting the minimum requirement of a 3.0 high school GPA, and complete a test-optional admission form. These materials will be reviewed by one of the university’s admission officers. [Eastern Michigan University

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a new program called Future for Frontliners, which could provide tuition-free education opportunities to Michigan’s essential workers who don’t have a college degree. Through the program, which still needs to receive support in the Legislature, workers such as those staffing hospitals and nursing homes, stocking shelves at grocery stores, manufacturing PPE, and delivering supplies will be eligible to pursue a college education or technical certificate at no cost. “The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis,” Whitmer says. []

Michigan has created the Child Care Relief Fund to provide direct, non-competitive grants to child care providers through $100 million in federal CARES Act funding and $30 million from the state’s child care fund. Grant recipients must commit to reducing their weekly rates for families by at least 10% and provide care for children of essential workers, and they may use the funds to ensure they stay afloat during Stay Home, Stay Safe, that their services are more affordable to families, and ensure that they have the resources they need as parents begin to go back to work. Applications are now open at [Michigan Department of Education]

A free COVID-19 testing site has opened on the grounds of the SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic in Highland Park. The site, located at 211 Glendale Ave., is open Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and a physician’s referral is not required to receive a test. Results are expected to be delivered to patients within 24 to 48 hours after testing. “This, in its small way, will help lead us to a path of recovery,” says author Mitch Albom, founder of SAY Detroit, a nonprofit that aims to improve the lives of Detroiters through shelter, food, medical care, volunteer efforts, and education. “This is the best example of quick, creative dedication. Before long we will have served hundreds and eventually thousands of Detroiters who might not otherwise have been tested.” The site is a collaborative effort between Say Detroit, Trinity Health, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, EVO Detroit/Detroit2Nepal Foundation, and Michigan Healthcare Professionals. [SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic

Mitch Albom also appeared on Today with Hoda & Jenna to talk about his new book, Human Touch. Albom is posting a new chapter of the book online every Friday. The book is available for free, but readers are encouraged — if they’re able to — to donate to COVID-19 relief efforts. “It’s hopeful, it’s inspirational, and don’t ask me how it ends because I’m one week at a time,” he said with a laugh. So far, the book has raised $150,000 in two weeks. Watch the interview, here. [Today with Hoda & Jenna]

Ford Motor Co. today reported first-quarter revenue of $34 billion and a net loss of $2 billion. According to company officials, its first-quarter results for 2020 were significantly reduced by the impact of the coronavirus. In mid-March, Ford began instructing its employees to work remotely where possible and suspended its component and vehicle production. Since the start of the pandemic, Ford has also shifted gears by committing to the production of 50,000 ventilators, up to 1000,000 respirators, hundreds of ambulances, and millions of face shields. “Ford people are keeping each other safe, limiting the spread of the virus, safeguarding healthcare workers and first responders, and taking care of customers,” says CEO Jim Hackett. “The imagination, initiative, and execution of our team is helping save lives today, and those qualities will allow Ford to emerge from this as a stronger company.” [Ford Motor Co.]

Jet’s Pizza, headquartered in Sterling Heights, will offer 30% off menu-priced pizzas for nurses and healthcare workers on May 6, which is recognized as Nurses Day. The code “BADGE” can be used at checkout, and customers must present a valid badge upon delivery or pickup to redeem the offer. “We hope these frontline heroes can accept this special offer as a small token of gratitude for their continued sacrifices,” says John Jetts, president of Jet’s America, Inc. [Jet’s Pizza

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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, 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