5/19/20 – Tuesday, May 19: Latest developments on coronavirus in Michigan

(Mlive) – Michigan will continue its phased reopening of the economy later this week as the Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula will be able to open bars, restaurants and non-essential retail stores with proper safety protocols in place.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday, May 18, that the Upper Peninsula and 17 Lower Michigan counties will take a “big step” in partially reopening businesses, beginning Friday, May 22.

The governor hinted that more partial reopenings could be announced later this week.

“Don’t descend on Traverse City from all regions of the state,” Whitmer said. “If you’re fortunate enough to have a place up north and you’re headed there, bring your groceries with you and try not to go out unnecessarily.”

Here’s what can reopen in which Michigan counties under new state order.

Monday’s announcement came shortly before the state’s coronavirus counter was updated with 773 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 24 new deaths associated with the virus.

More than 500 of the new cases came from enhanced testing through the Michigan Department of Corrections.

 

The flu has killed 2,200 Michiganders since 2000. Coronavirus topped that in a month.

Since 2000, Michigan has had 2,179 people die from the flu. Michigan’s deadliest influenza year was 2018, when state vital records show 346 people died from it.

Michigan’s first novel coronavirus death was March 18. By April 18, state death records show nearly 2,700 Michiganders had died from COVID-19 – more deaths than the flu caused in 20 years.

“Coronavirus is causing 10 times more mortality than flu,” said Dr. Teena Chopra, a professor of infectious diseases at Wayne State University and corporate medical director of hospital epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center. “It is a very contagious virus.”

 

West Michigan has ‘flattened the curve substantially,’ says health director

With bars, restaurants and retailers in northern Michigan given the go-ahead to reopen Friday, one public health official said West Michigan isn’t “too far behind the northern regions” in minimizing the spread of coronavirus.

“I think that overall, looking at this regionally makes some sense, and I don’t think we’re too far behind the northern regions here in West Michigan,” Kent County Health Director Adam London said Monday.

“As I mentioned, we have flattened the curve substantially. Our numbers are all trending downward in a good way. But I think we have to be careful, because while we’re trending in the right direction, we’re still in a very delicate precarious position.”

Coronavirus preparedness, response plans required for Michigan businesses set to reopen

As more Michigan businesses are allowed to reopen in-person operations, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is requiring workplaces to follow safety guidelines to protect their employees and limit COVID-19′s spread.Whitmer said most businesses are in compliance with measures aiming to slow the spread of COVID-19, but said “we must do more to ensure Michiganders are safe at work.”

Under a new executive order, businesses resuming in-person work are required to put together a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and make it available to customers and staff by June 1.

 

Trump planning Thursday tour of Michigan Ford plant where ventilators, PPE are made

President Donald Trump is expected to tour Ford Motor Company’s Rawsonville manufacturing plant in Ypsilanti Township on Thursday.

The president is scheduled to tour a factory that has shifted efforts to produce ventilators and personal protective equipment to help in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Ford began making ventilators at the plant during the week of April 20 and set a goal of producing 50,000 ventilators in 100 days at the facility.