Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: April 8

A quick look at what’s happening locally
Blake’s Hard Cider is the latest metro Detroit distillery to start producing hand sanitizer. // Photograph courtesy of Blake’s Hard Cider

The CDC is reporting a total of 395,011 positive COVID-19 cases and 12,754 deaths in the U.S. While the coronavirus continues to spread across the country — in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that the state’s COVID-19 deaths have far exceeded those killed on 9/11 — some states are beginning to see improvements. Today, Arkansas recorded its lowest positivity rate for COVID-19 in a 24-hour period, and, according to a story by NPR, New Jersey is expected to reach its peak number of deaths by April 12, California is expected to reach it by April 15, and Michigan by April 9. Here’s what else is happening in metro Detroit: 


The state of Michigan reported 1,376 new COVID-19 cases and 114 deaths today. That brings the state’s total to 20,346 cases and 959 deaths. [


In today’s conference at Eastern Market, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan shared that Michigan State Fairground testing site is now seeing 900 people a day. He expects, following a partnership with Wayne State University, for this number to rise to 1,000 a day by April 13. The mayor also shared that 170 members of the Detroit Police Department and 52 members of the Detroit Fire Department have now tested positive for COVID-19. According to Duggan, 360 of the city’s police officers are now quarantined, and 421 of them have returned to work after being in quarantine. The mayor also shared that curve is beginning to flatten out in Detroit, and CEOs at hospital systems in the area saying admissions to hospitals are starting to slow. The entire conference can be viewed on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government]


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today signed an executive order so motor carriers delivering products such as medical supplies, sanitary supplies, equipment, and more will not face fines or penalties if their license or decals lapses. “Right now, it’s more important than ever to ensure there are no disruptions in the flow of critical equipment and health care personnel coming into our state to help treat patients and reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer says. The order is in effect until May 5. [] 


Blake’s Hard Cider in Armada is the latest distillery in the metro Detroit area to start producing hand sanitizer. The business is manufacturing and distributing $30 gallons of hand sanitizer to hospitals and large companies, and 8-oz spray bottles are available to the public for $6.99. First responders can get the spray for free. The spray can be purchased at Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill at 17985 Armada Center Road. The limit is two per vehicle. Orders for the gallons of hand sanitizer, which can be shipped through Michigan, can be placed by emailing [Blake’s Hard Cider]  


The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is adding more staff and extending hours to better serve the increase of unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19. The agency’s call center, which typically operates with 130 employees, will have an estimated 500 workers by the end of this week and hundreds more are expected to start in the coming weeks. According to a report by the U.S Department of Labor, more than 420,000 workers have filed initial unemployment claims in Michigan since March 15. [


CovidCare Kits are now being delivered to Henry Ford Hospitals in Detroit, West Bloomfield, Wyandotte, and Clinton Township. The packages, created by the Henry Ford Innovation Institute, are given to patients who show symptoms of the coronavirus or test positive for it and are sent home to recover. CovidCare Kits include a pulse oximeter, Gatorade, hand sanitizer, face masks, and a symptoms log, which provides a number to call if warning signs appear. [Henry Ford Health System


Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti has moved its wellness and exercise classes and programs online. Students can now digitally access yoga, Pilates, meditation, dog therapy sessions as well as wellness check-ins and weekly wellness roundtables. “We recognize that so many of our students’ day to day activities that help them to maintain and grow their wellness have dropped away during the COVID-19 crisis,” says Sean Woolf, associate director of the EMU Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility. “We want to help to maintain their wellness practices and maybe even develop new ones. [Eastern Michigan University


Suburban Collection Showplace, the Novi-based convention center that hosts events such as the annual Women’s Show and the Michigan State Fair, is the second site that the state of Michigan has chosen to transition into an alternate care facility. The first, TFC Center in Detroit, will offer 1,000 beds for COVID-19 patients and is expected to open by the end of the week. [Suburban Collection Showplace]  

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