Whitmer set to issue stay-at-home order
DETROIT — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will announce a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with an exemption for certain workers, a government official told The Associated Press today.
The order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, will allow “essential” employees necessary to sustain and protect life to continue going to work, said a high-ranking administration official who had direct knowledge of the measure. The person was not authorized to speak publicly before the Democratic governor’s scheduled 11 a.m. news conference today.
Lansing-based political publication MIRS first reported on the planned order today.
Michigan has more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Nine deaths have been reported.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. Michigan’s ninth coronavirus-related death was reported Sunday in Washtenaw County where officials now suspect community transmission, as the statewide total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,035.
Washtenaw County Health Department officials said in a release Sunday night that a man described as an “elderly, adult male with underlying health conditions,” was hospitalized Saturday and died Sunday at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. His death was the first attributed to COVID-19 in the county where health officials said a growing number of cases now indicate “community spread.” Community spread means it’s not clear how an infected person contracted the virus and its origin can’t be traced.
“While we know there are no words that can lessen this family’s grief and our community’s loss and fears, his death is an urgent reminder to all of us,” Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck said in the release. “We must act now and act together to protect everyone’s health to the greatest degree possible.”
The Washtenaw County death was in addition to two men, one from Macomb County and one from Kent County, who died from complications due to the coronavirus.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel announced Saturday night that a 52-year-old man with underlying health conditions died at a hospital in Clinton Township. Hackel said this is the county’s first corona-virus-related death, and 121 cases have been identified in the county.
Officials also said that a 1-month-old and a 100-year-old are among the most recent positive tests in Macomb County.
In Kent County, the local health department released a statement that confirmed the death of a 71-year-old man, also with underlying health conditions.
Officials announced earlier Saturday that two Detroit-area women in their 90s also died from complications of COVID-19. An additional 238 cases statewide were reported Saturday by Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Whitmer also signed an executive order Saturday that closes “non-essential personal care services” for three weeks. The services include nail and hair salons, tattoo and piercing shops, and spas, as well as other services that “require individuals to be within 6 feet of each other.”
The order went into effect Sunday and runs through April 13.
The statewide order comes after health officials in Oakland County issued emergency orders Saturday closing all shopping malls and banning adults and children from using playground equipment to help slow the transmission of the coronavirus.
Shopping malls had to close by noon Saturday. By today, child care centers in the county were required to develop and implement daily screenings of children, staff, parents and visitors for symptoms of the virus.
The county’s orders are in place until April 17 and additional steps are being considered, according to County Executive David Coulter.
Meanwhile, hospital officials are concerned about shortages of equipment as the number of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, increase.
Henry Ford Health System reported 120 positive COVID-19 cases by 9 a.m. Saturday at four of its hospitals. Patients currently in the system’s hospitals, those being admitted to emergency rooms and hospital health care workers were receiving priority for in-house testing.
But supplies, like respirators, were dwindling.
“We can’t really predict how long the increase in demand (for supplies) will last,” said Dr. Betty Chu, Henry Ford Health System’s associate chief clinical officer and chief quality officer. “We’ve really reduced the amount of non-time-sensitive surgeries and procedures. That has allowed us to go internally and find those resources.”
Beaumont Health has tested close to 4,000 people for COVID-19. Of that number, 415 tested positive, while about 1,200 tests came back negative for the virus. The remaining tests are pending.
“We’re ramping up our efforts to care for more patients at all our hospitals,” said Susan Grant, Beaumont Health’s chief nursing officer and executive vice president. “As we anticipated, the number of cases we’re seeing and treating is growing by the day.”
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.