Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: May 26

Somerset Collection to reopen on Friday, Orchard Laboratories begins testing samples collected at Oakland County’s drive-thru testing sites, and the Detroit Pistons host a virtual mental health panel
Orchard Laboratories covid-19
Orchard Laboratories is now testing samples collected at drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites for Oakland County. // Photograph courtesy of Orchard Laboratories 

John Hopkins University is now reporting 1.68 million COVID-19 cases and 98,717 deaths in the U.S. Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said some of the company’s employees can return to the office on July 6, NHL officials announced that the league plans to restart its season with a 24-team Stanley Cup playoff tournament, and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that hair salons and barbershops in some of California’s counties can reopen with modifications. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 223 new COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths. So far, the state has seen 55,104 cases and 5,266 deaths. [Michigan.gov

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today signed an executive order that expands the types of medical personnel who can order a COVID-19 test. The order also establishes a new category of community testing sites, which will offer tests to anyone who has worked outside their home for at least 10 days, has symptoms of the coronavirus, has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or resides in a place like a long-term care facility, prison or jail, homeless shelter, or migrant camp. “We need to keep working to expand testing, which is why it is crucial that Michiganders who have COVID-19 symptoms, even mild ones, or have been in contact with someone who has the virus can get tested,” Whitmer says. “This Executive Order will pave the way for more community testing sites to open as we work towards our goal of 15,000 tests administered daily in Michigan.” [Michigan.gov]

The Detroit Pistons are hosting a live virtual panel discussion from 6-7 p.m. tonight to offer guidance on navigating mental health during the pandemic. The event will be led by Dr. Corey Yeager, the team’s psychotherapist, and feature JB Dubois, Pistons development coach; Earl Cureton, who played with the team as a forward-center from 1983-1986; Dr. Catherine Frank, chair of the Henry Ford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services; and Larry Burns, president and CEO of the Children’s Foundation. To register for the free event, click here. [Detroit Pistons

Metro Detroit malls are preparing to welcome back customers as Gov. Whitmer relaxes restrictions on retailers. According to Crain’s Detroit Business, on Thursday, Great Lakes Crossing and Twelve Oaks will reopen, and Somerset Collection will reopen on Friday. [Crain’s Detroit Business

Starting June 2, Oakland County, McLaren Oakland hospital, and the Pontiac Housing Commission will offer free COVID-19 testing, health screenings, food security assessments, and assistance with the U.S. Census 2020 questionnaire to residents at Carriage Circle Apartments in Pontiac. Residents must make an appointment to be tested. “The numbers, according to the Oakland County Health Division, show that African Americans comprise more than 30% of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 36% of the deaths but only 14% of the population,” says Oakland County Commissioner Angela Powell. “It is critical we bring testing to Pontiac residents where they live and who, for whatever reason, may have had limited access to testing.” [Oakgov.com

Orchard Laboratories in West Bloomfield is now testing samples collected at drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites for Oakland County as well as samples from doctors’ offices, urgent care centers, and nursing homes in metro Detroit. The lab, which is running 24 hours a day, uses the ThermoFisher 7500DX, an instrument that can process up to 100 nasopharyngeal swabs in four hours. “By investing in this equipment and working quickly to bring our laboratory up to the necessary codes for COVID-19 testing, we are providing our state with another important tool in fighting this pandemic,” says Sami Ahmad, founder and CEO of Orchard Laboratories. [Orchard Laboratories

Whitmer is facing scrutiny after her husband employed his connection to her when requesting that a Northern Michigan dock company place his boat in the water before Memorial Day weekend. According to The Detroit News, news of the situation broke on Thursday — a few days after Whitmer announced she was lifting some restrictions on Northern Michigan cities — and has since drawn the attention of Republican lawmakers who believe the governor’s family may not be following her guidance. In a press conference today, the Detroit Free Press reports that Whitmer said her husband’s request was “a failed attempt at humor” and he regrets what he did. [Detroit News / Detroit Free Press]

Data scientists and cancer doctors at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center and U-M School of Public Health have developed a free, web-based app that calculates the risk of delaying cancer treatment during the coronavirus pandemic. OncCOVID uses millions of records from the National Cancer Institute and the National Cancer Database and combines them with COVID infection data to let doctors know a patient’s five or 10-year survival rate following immediate or delayed treatment. [OncCOVID

In other U-M news, Michigan Medicine is among the nearly 30 medical centers participating in the #FitForTheFrontLine Challenge, a national initiative that encourages people to exercise to raise funds for healthcare workers. Those who participate in the challenge, which runs from May 26 to June 14, will choose a fitness activity to complete — such as a walk around the block or cycling — dedicate the activity to Michigan Medicine, post the donation link for Michigan Medicine on their social media pages, and ask their network to pledge support. All donations will support Michigan Medicine’s frontline staff through the institutions’ COVID-19 Philanthropic Fund. [#FitForTheFrontLine – Michigan Medicine]  

The PNC Foundation has donated $100,000 to Henry Ford Health System. The funds will support the health system’s COVID-19 employee emergency lodging program, which is providing hotel rooms and meals to frontline healthcare workers at Henry Ford. [Henry Ford Health System

MI Safe Start Map, a new online dashboard that shows COVID-19 data in Michigan, has launched today. The platform shows available case, death, and test data to determine the overall level of risk in the state as well as key trends. The digital tool was created through a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, and the University of Michigan. [MI Safe Start Map

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