Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: May 20

The Ford Fireworks move to a televised-only event, College for Creative Studies eliminates 5% of its workforce, and the state of Michigan reports 659 new COVID-19 cases
Ford Fireworks - covid-19
This year, the Ford Fireworks will be a televised-only event. // Photograph courtesy of The Parade Co.

John Hopkins University is reporting 1.54 million cases of COVID-19 and 97,712 deaths in the U.S. According to CNN, all 50 states are now at least partially reopened, and 17 states have seen an upward trend in their average of new daily cases in the last week. Today, Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker said restaurants in his state can start outdoor dining on May 29, Gov. Phil Murphy said Walmart will now offer self-swab COVID-19 tests in New Jersey, and  Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York will allow religious gatherings of up to 10 people starting tomorrow. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 659 new cases of COVID-19 and 43 deaths. In total, the state has seen 53,009 cases and 5,060 deaths. [

During his press conference today, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan shared that the city has now seen 1,282 deaths from COVID-19, and Detroit’s death rate is down more than 90% in four weeks. “This is the reason Detroit is getting so much attention,” he said. Duggan also encouraged Detroit business owners who will be able to open under phase four of Gov. Whitmer’s reopening plan to begin working on their strategy to resume business. Starting at 6 p.m. tonight, business owners can register for resources — including a technical assistance webinar — on the Detroit Means Business website. Watch the entire conference, here. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government

The Ford Fireworks, which were originally scheduled for June 22, will take place this year as a televised-only event on Aug. 31. The theme for this year’s broadcast is We Are One Together. The event will air on WDIV Local 4 and honor front line workers and heroes of the coronavirus crisis. Hart Plaza and other public spaces in Detroit will not be open for viewing. [The Parade Co.

The Detroit Historical Society says it has received a “major gift” from Chip and Sarah McClure to fund its COVID-19 storytelling collection project, Detroit Responds: Stories from the time of COVID-19. Through the project, the society aims to collect real-time personal recollections of the pandemic from metro Detroiters. “From healthcare heroes to business leaders, elected officials, and residents throughout the region, everyone has a story to tell,” says Sarah, who serves on the Board of Trustees for the Detroit Historical Society. “Chip and I are supporting the project to ensure that the Detroit Historical Society has the resources it needs to be truly inclusive and expansive as it collects the many perspectives of our region.” [Detroit Historical Society

The University of Detroit Mercy announced today that all three of its campuses will remain in full session throughout the 2020-21 academic year, but new health and safety policies will be put in place to protect students, faculty, and the campus community. For example, the university’s McNichols Campus will adopt in-person and virtual learning. The campus is also adjusting its academic calendar so students can return home before December, which is when an increase in COVID-19 cases is expected. The university’s School of Dentistry and School of Law are evaluating which educational models they will use in the fall. [University of Detroit Mercy

The Rocket Mortgage Classic is launching an initiative — called Changing the Course — to bring internet, technology, and digital literacy training to Detroit within five years. Officials with the event say the pandemic has highlighted Detroit’s digital divide, and the nonprofit Rocket Giving Fund, which organizes the tournament, will invest funds in organizations and infrastructure that are ensuring 5G internet technology in the city. “In talking to leaders and partners throughout the city, the issue of internet accessibility always came back to the top,” says Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. “Kids are falling behind because they can’t get to school, parents cannot search for jobs, and families were unable to get needed telemedicine. Detroiters deserve better.” [Rocket Mortgage Classic

In response to challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, College for Creative Studies in Detroit has announced plans to restructure. The college is eliminating 5% of its workforce, enacting an immediate salary and hiring freeze, eliminating external contracts where possible, and halting all non-essential capital projects. Moving forward, new investments will be focused on expanding technology to improve learning experiences for students. “As we developed this restructuring plan, our decision making was mission-driven and laser-focused on delivering the best student experience,” says Don Tuski, president of CCS. “While we were faced with making these difficult decisions, making these changes now will allow us to adapt to the new circumstances facing higher education and deliver an exceptional and safe experience this fall.” [College for Creative Studies

Oakland County is expanding its free drive-thru COVID-19 testing to include all adults over the age of 18. “As more people return to work, we need to be vigilant and mindful that the coronavirus is still with us,” says County Executive David Coulter. “I urge anyone with underlying health conditions and those adults who are returning to work to get tested.” Testing is offered at the Oakland County Complex, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, in Pontiac; the South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, in Southfield; and the Novi Civic Center, 45175 W. 10 Mile Road, in Novi. A doctor’s note or prescription is not needed to schedule a test. To make an appointment, call 1-800-848-5533. []   

Eastern Michigan University’s Engage@EMU PPE project has committed to producing 2,500 masks — 625 youth-sized, 1,875 adult-sized — for the City of Ypsilanti. Engage@EMU PPE plans to deliver the order by the second week in June, and the city will distribute the masks. Since the pandemic hit locally, the project has worked with the university’s faculty, staff, and students to provide personal protective equipment to healthcare professionals. [Eastern Michigan University]  

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