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

University of Michigan develops new digital tools for reopening the state, Ford-Wyoming Drive-in Theatre closes after its reopening night, and Southfield City Council passes temporary approvals for the city’s restaurants to expand outdoor dining areas
MI Safe Start map
The MI Safe Start Map digital dashboard is among the tools developed at the University of Michigan to help officials reopen the state. // Image courtesy of the University of Michigan

As of this afternoon, John Hopkins University is reporting 1.73 million cases of COVID-19 and 102,323 deaths in the U.S. Today, the CDC projected more than 123,000 COVID-19 deaths in the country by June 20. President Trump also announced that he has terminated the United States’ partnership with the World Health Organization, saying that its handling of the pandemic in China is part of the reason for severing ties. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit: 

 

The state of Michigan today reported 607 new cases of COVID-19 and 34 deaths. In total, the state has seen 56,621 cases and 5,406 deaths. [Michigan.gov]  

 

During his press conference today, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that 1,358 of the city’s residents have now died from the coronavirus. Two of those deaths were reported in the last three days. In the last week, 2.5 percent of the city’s COVID-19 test results have come back positive. Meanwhile, during that same time, nearly 6 percent of suburbanites have tested positive for the coronavirus. “The people of the city have so committed to the principle of social distancing that our numbers have dropped below the suburbs,” Duggan said, adding that the city is approaching phase five of Gov. Whitmer’s six-phase reopening plan. Watch the entire conference, here. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government

 

Ann Arbor-based bakery Sweet Heather Anne and florist University Flower Shop have teamed up to offer “miss you” cake and flower sets. “We’ve been doing lots of delivers lately, and it made us think about how much we missed our loved ones and wanted to send them something special,” reads a post on Sweet Heather Anne’s Instagram page. “Everyone’s going through their own version of this craziness right now, and a special delivery of [cake] + [flowers] is sure to brighten anyone’s day.” The cake is available in a lemon raspberry flavor and serves three to six people. [Sweet Heather Anne / University Flower Shop

 

The Southfield City Council has passed temporary approvals for the city’s restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas and for barbers, hairstylists, and nail technicians to provide services outside their established business. Business operations and opening dates remain subject to Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders, but the Southfield Planning and Building Departments are reducing fees and expediting approvals for businesses that apply for new zoning so they are prepared when they can reopen. “The city of Southfield continually strives to assist local and international businesses by cutting red tape and rolling out the red carpet,” says Terry Croad, Southfield city planner. “During this difficult time, we are making every effort to support both our businesses and residents while doing so as safely and quickly as possible. This resolution provides residents with much-needed services while also helping businesses to get back in operation as soon as feasible.” [Southfield City Council]

 

Shinola launched a limited-edition timepiece today that will benefit healthcare workers. The Detroit-based lifestyle brand will donate $197,500 to the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan — a nonprofit that has granted almost $9.5 million already for COVID-19 activities — through the sales of the watch. [Shinola]  

 

During its reopening last night, Dearborn’s Ford-Wyoming Drive-in Theatre was served a cease-and-desist order by police. According to Fox 2 Detroit, the theater now plans to reopen on June 12, when Gov. Whitmer’s latest stay-home order expires. [Fox 2 Detroit]  

 

Among the tools that University of Michigan faculty, students, staff, and alumni have created to help reopen the economy is a web app called MI Symptoms and digital dashboard called MI Safe Start Map. Intended to be used daily, MI Symptoms helps employers ask workers questions that can help identify potential cases of COVID-19. “This is purpose-built to support the state of Michigan’s reopening in a safe, measured way,” says Dan Maletta, executive director of information technology at Michigan Engineering. MI Safe Start Map uses public health data, such as the number of new daily cases and percentage of positive tests, to help health officials track hotspots. “Given there are many indicators that could show something is going wrong, you want a way to systematically monitor them, calling people’s attention and having them then go and investigate something before making the difficult decisions about when to reopen what,” says Paul Resnick, professor of information and associate dean for research and faculty affairs at the U-M School of Information. [University of Michigan]  

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