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

Gov. Whitmer extends Michigan’s stay-at-home order, Flower Day goes virtual, and Detroit retailers prepare to reopen
flower day - covid-19
Flower Day will take place as a virtual event this year. // Photograph courtesy of Eastern Market Corp.

John Hopkins University is now reporting nearly 1.597 million COVID-19 cases and 95,823 deaths in the U.S. Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that it’s “conceivable” that the U.S. may roll out a vaccine for the coronavirus by December or January. President Trump also said that his administration is deeming places of worship “essential” and called for governors across the country to reopen churches and houses of worship. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 403 new COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths. So far, the state has seen 53,913 cases and 5,158 deaths. [Michigan.gov]

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order to extend Michigan’s Safer at Home order through June 12. The order extends the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation, such as theaters, gyms, and casinos. Whitmer also signed an executive order to extend Michigan’s state of emergency declaration related to the pandemic to June 19. “All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again,” she says. “We’ve already loosened some restrictions on construction, manufacturing, landscaping, retail, and more. But the worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk and wipes out all the progress we’ve made.” [Michigan.gov]

In his press conference today, Mayor Mike Duggan shared that the city has now seen 1,301 COVID-19 deaths, four of which are from yesterday. “The trends all continue to go the direction we would hope for,” he said, adding that Detroit was reporting 40 to 50 deaths a day at one point. Duggan also reviewed Gov. Whitmer’s latest executive order, which allows most retail businesses to open on May 26 through appointments. He reiterated that places of public accommodation, including sit-down restaurants, theaters, fitness centers, and personal care services, still cannot open. Business owners that are opening on Tuesday and need personal protective equipment can schedule an appointment to pick up PPE at detroitmeansbusiness.org or by calling 844-333-8249. Initial PPE supply is free of charge. Duggan was also joined by Chief Storyteller Eric Thomas during today’s press conference. Thomas shared news about the Everybody vs. COVID-19 festival, which will air online next weekend to promote social distancing and the 2020 Census. To watch the entire conference, click here. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government]

Eastern Market’s popular Flower Day is going digital this year, reports the Detroit Free Press. At noon on Sunday, the market will host a livestream on Facebook for customers to pre-order flowers and pick up later in the week. The event will also spotlight flower growers and share tips for home gardening. [Detroit Free Press]

The Food Bank Council of Michigan is predicting that an increased need for emergency food will last through 2022. “Economic recovery from this catastrophic pandemic will take time,” says Dr. Phil Knight, executive director of the council. “The long tail of COVID-19 will last well into 2022 and beyond.” The state’s food insecurity rate is expected to peak at the end of June to nearly 19%, which accounts for 1.9 million people in Michigan. A food insecurity rate of 14.6% is projected through the end of 2022. [Food Bank Council of Michigan

Wayne State University is sharing today that, collectively, a group of its Chinese faculty members have gathered 50,000 pieces of personal protective equipment for local hospitals and police departments. “The Chinese faculty were motivated when we saw [WSU Vice President of Research] Dr. Stephen Lanier’s call in March for PPE donation, especially since we closely followed what has happened in China since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” says Wanqing Liu, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Services. So far, they have donated more than 2,800 N95/K95 masks, 8,500 surgical masks, 100 isolation gowns to University Physician Group, Karmanos Eye and Cancer Institutes, and Henry Ford Health System. They’ve also donated more than 1,400 N95 and 6,000 surgical masks to hospitals such as Henry Ford Macomb, Beaumont, St. Joseph, and Providence, and police departments in Detroit and Rochester Hills. [Wayne State University]

The annual Faster Horses Festival has postponed its 2020 event, which was scheduled to take place from July 17-19 in Brooklyn, Michigan. According to Metro Times, the festival will return in 2021 with the lineup it planned for this year, which features Jason Aldean, Luke Combs, and Thomas Rhett as headliners. [Metro Times]

Sqwrill LLC, a Bloomfield Hills-based product development and consulting firm, has launched a platform that helps HR and other professionals manage exposure to COVID-19 within their company and isolate exposed workers. Called CompanyTrak, the app allows employees to track symptoms using a checklist, alert others of possible exposure to the coronavirus, and alert management if they test positive. CompanyTrak is available through the Apple and Android app stores. [CompanyTrak

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