Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: May 5

A quick look at what’s happening locally
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Beaumont, Wayne reopened to COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients today. // Photograph courtesy of Beaumont

The CDC is now reporting 1.172 million cases of COVID-19 and 68,279 deaths in the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said today that The White House’s coronavirus task force — formed in late January to lead the Trump Administration in monitoring, containing, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 — will wind down around Memorial Day. Still, according to The New York Times, cases are growing 2% to 4% on a daily basis, and more than 1,000 people have died each day for more than a month. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit: 

The state of Michigan today reported 447 new COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths. Following a review of old death certificates, today’s death total includes 8 additional deaths. In total, the state has seen 44,397 cases and 4,179 deaths. [Michigan.gov

In today’s press conference, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan shared that 1,011 Detroiters have now died from COVID-19. “That number is growing much more slowly than it was before,” he said, “but it is no less painful to people in this community who are fighting this disease.” Currently, the city is doing 200-300 Abbot 15-minute tests a day, and 1,000 tests are taking place each day at the Michigan State Fairgrounds site. Duggan was joined by Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, Inc. The auto company has provided 10 customized vehicles to the city to safely transport residents to the Fairgrounds site for COVID-19 testing. The vehicles are designed so that the front and back of the interior is separated, and air can’t move from the back to the front. Watch the entire conference on the City of Detroit Government page on Facebook. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government

Following the latest protest against the Stay Home, Stay Safe order in Lansing, in which demonstrators who were carrying rifles barged into the Senate public gallery, the Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan Capitol Commission could decide on whether guns should be banned inside the Capitol on May 11. A 1931 law states that carrying concealed weapons with a license is allowed inside the building, but guns are banned from other state government facilities. For the full story, click here. [Detroit Free Press]  

As part of a nearly $3 million national initiative, the NFL’s Inspire Change program and Players Coalition is providing funding to Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit Medical Center, We the People of Detroit, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Neighborhood Services Organization, and City of Detroit Rapid Response Fund. The NFL program and coalition also donated to hospitals and nonprofits in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Florida, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. “We know that during this difficult time, our minority and low-income communities are struggling disproportionately with the impact of COVID-19,” says Anquan Boldin, Players Coalition co-founder. “Communities in Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, and more are getting hit hard right now, and we want to do our part in ensuring these areas have even the basic needs.” [NFL

As Fiat Chryslers Automobiles prepares to reopen its U.S. facilities on May 18 and General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. are planning for their reopenings, UAW President Rory L. Gamble says the union’s focus is on health and safety protocols to protect its members. “My own family will be among those reporting and my responsibility to our UAW members and my family will be consistent,” Gamble said in a statement released today. “We must implement and follow these guidelines and self-reporting procedures we have worked out. And the UAW will fulfill its role to continue to actively monitor and aggressively respond regarding all issues impacting the health and safety of UAW members in whatever manner may be necessary as we return to the worksite.” [UAW

Wahlburgers and alternative asset management firm Crescent Capital are donating 750 meals to Detroit front line workers on May 6 and 7. “Not being able to be fully operational these past several weeks has been heartbreaking for our entire organization. But that hasn’t stopped our commitment to supporting the communities we serve however we can,” says actor Mark Wahlberg, who is a co-owner of the burger chain. Local battalion chiefs will pick up meals for the firehouses at Engine 56 Co. Firehouse in Detroit, and Tom Gehart, president of Firefighters Union, will distribute meals to Detroit Receiving Hospital and Sinai-Grace Hospital. [Wahlburgers

Beaumont Hospital, Wayne reopened this morning to COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients. As the coronavirus started to spread in metro Detroit, the Wayne location received approval from the state to operate as a COVID-19 only hospital. When the surge of COVID-19 patients turned out to be less than expected — likely due to social distancing and the stay-at-home order — the hospital stopped taking patients in mid-April and temporarily closed. The hospital is now reopening in phases. The first phase opens The Emergency Center, obstetrical services offered pre-COVID-19, and observation/inpatient medical surgical beds and support services. [Beaumont Health]

Olga’s Kitchen has launched a Feed a Hero program to give back to front line workers. Those interested in supporting can make donations through the Olga’s website — order.olgas.com —or mobile app, and the restaurant will donate a boxed meal to a front line worker for every $10 donated. To date, Olga’s has donated 3,500 meals to front line healthcare workers during the pandemic. [Olga’s Kitchen

Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company with headquarters in New York City, announced today that initial manufacturing for its COVID-19 vaccine will take place at its site in Kalamazoo. The company also shared that the first participants in the clinical trial for the vaccine have now been dosed in the U.S. “COVID-19 has shown how vulnerable our country is when it comes to supply chain and much of the lifesaving materials we need are manufactured out of the country,” said Gov. Whitmer in a statement. “That’s why we are so proud that one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in the world is the Pfizer site right here in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In fact, Michigan has a strong history of vaccine development with the polio and anthrax vaccines.” [Pfizer

Insurance provider Meridian will donate 130,000 units of personal protective equipment to Michigan first responders and front line workers. Meridian is donating to the Michigan State Emergency Operations Center, National Guard, State Police, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. The City of Detroit Police and Department of Transportation, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, and the Oakland County Emergency Management will also receive PPE. “Every day, our first responders and essential workers are on the front lines of this pandemic, risking their lives to serve others,” says Sean Kendall, Meridian Plan president and CEO for Michigan. “These contributions are aimed at ensuring these brave men and women have the protective equipment they need and deserve to stay safe during this time.” [Meridian

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