Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: May 7

A quick look at what’s happening locally
gov whitmer - covid-19
In a press conference today, Gov. Whitmer announced the extension of Stay Home, Stay Safe to May 28. // Photograph courtesy of Gov. Whitmer

Today marks 91 days since the first known coronavirus-related death in the U.S. As many states across the country prepare to partially or completely reopen, a senior CDC official told CNN that the Trump administration will not implement the center’s recommendation for reopening America. According to The Associated Press, the 17-page report gives guidance to faith leaders, business owners, educators, and state and local officials for reopening. Also today, President Trump said that he’ll be tested daily for the coronavirus after it was announced that one of his valets tested positive for the coronavirus. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit: 


The state of Michigan today reported 592 new COVID-19 cases and 93 deaths. Today’s numbers include 38 additional deaths identified through a review of old death records. In total, the state has seen 45,646 cases and 592 deaths. [


In a press conference today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that Michigan is now in the third phase of the six-phase MI Safe Start Plan, which means the state is now flattening the curve of the epidemic. In this phase, titled Flattening, the epidemic is no longer increasing, and the healthcare system’s capacity is sufficient for its current needs. To reach the next phase, which is called Improving, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths will need to be clearly declining. The governor worked with healthcare, business, labor, and education leaders to develop the plan. Whitmer also extended Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. The last extension of the order was set to end on May 15. While Michiganders must not leave their homes unless they’re running critical errands, engaging in outdoor activities, or going to select jobs, the order allows manufacturing workers — including those at General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Ford Motor Co. — to return work on May 11. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly,” Whitmer said in a statement. “As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, I will keep working around the clock to ensure our businesses adopt best practices to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19. When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.” Manufacturing facilities are required to adopt daily entry screening protocols, which includes health questionnaires and temperature screenings once no-touch thermometers can be obtained. Facilities must also train workers on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, require employees to wear masks if they cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation, and consider face shields for workers who cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation. [


In his press conference today, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan shared that the TCF Center field hospital is officially closed. Duggan said the closure of the hospital is a “point of great celebration in this community.” The hospital beds will remain on-site at TCF Center in case there is another spike of the coronavirus locally. When the hospital opened on April 10, Duggan said the city’s numbers were rapidly increasing. Yet, as the city committed to social distancing measures, the need for the space decreased. During the press conference, the mayor also said that the city has received a donation of 300,000 surgical masks and 50,000 N95 masks from Tencent, a Chinese tech company. Several of the company’s executives are University of Michigan grads. Also, with the governor’s ban on construction lifted, six major housing projects — that offer 170 affordable housing units — with $120 million in investment are resuming in the city. Watch the entire conference on the City of Detroit Government Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government


Last week, nearly 69,000 Michiganders filed for unemployment, according to The Detroit News. Since March 15, more than 1.3 million people in the state have filed, and the state has paid $4.13 billion in unemployment benefits. [The Detroit News


A new antibody test by University of Michigan scientists that identifies people who have been infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is now being validated. Officials with the university say the test could accelerate the selection of patient plasma, which can be used in treating new infections of the coronavirus. “This work is helping to advance the science of antibody testing at a time when it is urgently needed,” says DuBois Bowman, dean of the U-M School of Public Health. “Ensuring accurate, widely available antibody testing is an essential step in determining the cumulative impact of the virus, understanding more about immunity and ultimately gaining control over this pandemic.” [University of Michigan


Henry Ford Health System and residents of Northwest Goldberg are partnering to bring four freestanding community message boards to the Detroit neighborhood. Currently, the boards feature information about the coronavirus, such as the basics of social distancing, how to care for someone who has COVID-19, and what to do if somebody thinks they have the virus. The boards are funded by Henry Ford and maintained by NW Goldberg Cares, a community development corporation that aims to improve the lives of the neighborhood’s residents. [Henry Ford Health System / NW Goldberg Cares]   


Detroit Medical Center is banning the 25 doctors who form Wayne Pediatrics from admitting or treating patients at its Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The ban goes into effect on July 1. Now, leaders with Wayne State University are expressing their anger over the decision Tenet Healthcare Corp., which owns DMC, made during the pandemic. “This immoral act puts children at risk and separates doctors from patients in the midst of a global pandemic,” says a statement released by the university today. “We will vigorously oppose this despicable act, and urge members of our community and government leaders to do likewise.” Tenet has not yet issued a statement explaining its decision to ban the Wayne State pediatricians. [Wayne State University / Children’s Hospital of Michigan


After the launch of a COVID-19 jobs portal last month on Pure Michigan Talent Connect, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity have teamed up to launch another portal specific to COVID-19 healthcare jobs. The new portal features more than 7,000 job openings for positions at places such as long-term care facilities and hospitals. “We must ensure COVID-19 units and long-term care facilities not only have enough PPE, but also the trained professionals they need to provide critical care to COVID-19 patients, take care of their teams and continue to save lives,” says Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. The COVID-19 healthcare job portal can be accessed, here. [Michigan Department of Health and Human Services / Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

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