2 Muskegon Co. COVID-19 deaths among 92 in state

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan saw its largest-single day increase in the number of deaths linked to coronavirus Thursday as the total rose to 92.

The number of confirmed cases statewide increased by more than 800 with tests run Thursday, bringing the total to 3,657, according to data released Friday.

The largest concentration of cases is still in southeast Michigan. Wayne County (including Detroit), has 1,810 confirmed cases and 37 deaths; Oakland County has 824 cases and 26 deaths; and Macomb County 404 cases and 14 deaths. The Detroit News reports that Detroit Police Department Chief James Craig has tested positive for the virus.

Genesee County, which is home to Flint, has confirmed 91 cases and four deaths.

The dead range in age from 36 to 92, but the average age is 68. Sixty-five percent of those killed were men and 34% women. In 1% of those deadly cases, the sex was not reported to the state.

Among those dead Thursday were two men from Muskegon County: an 83- and 78-year-old, Public Health – Muskegon County said Friday. Their names were not released.

“Our hearts go out to their families during their time of grief,” Kathy Moore, Muskegon County health officer, said in a statement. “It is critical for us to protect each another and take all possible measures of prevention. Please stay home to help slow the spread of this illness.”

Muskegon County has confirmed six cases, including the two that proved fatal.

Muskegon Community College said Friday that in the event Mercy Health needs more beds to treat coronavirus patients, it may use MCC’s Health and Wellness Center. That building has a large gym and is home to the Nursing and Respiratory Therapy Stimulation Center and Medical Assistant Program, which have labs and exam rooms. The building, along with the rest of campus, has been closed since March 19.

Kent County has confirmed 45 cases; four more than the day prior. One person has died. One of the patients is St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Community in Grand Rapids pastor Rev. Mark Przybysz. He is being hospitalized, the church said.

Ottawa County’s cases stand at 21 and Berrien County’s at 18.

Calhoun County has nine confirmed cases. One of those patients is a Battle Creek Police Department officer. The officer is at home while he recovers. All other officers were at low risk of exposure from the patient, officials said, and are not being isolated.

Calhoun County also said Friday that it had identified a probable site of exposure at the March 11 MHSAA boys basketball district tournament game at Concord High School in Jackson County. Health officials say if you’re sick and you were at that game, isolate yourself and call your doctor for guidance. The 14-day incubation period of the virus has already expired, so any attendees who contracted it have probably already developed symptoms.

As of Friday afternoon, the state had run a total of 13,769 tests, 10,524 of which came back negative and 3,136 of which came back positive. The number of positive tests does not necessarily align with the number of confirmed patients in Michigan because some people may have had more than one test or their test was run by an out-of-state lab.

Health officials have noted that the number of test kits available is limited. Not everyone displaying symptoms is going to get tested. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said as recently as Monday that not enough testing has been done to get a clear scope of the spread of the illness.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number of deaths more than doubled from Wednesday to Thursday. That statement mistakenly referenced the death toll from Tuesday, not Wednesday. The number of deaths increased by more than 30 Thursday, but did not more than double in a single day.


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday morning suggested that K-12 schools may not return to session this school year.

“We are working diligently to come up with a plan to meet the demands of our kids,” Whitmer, who closed schools effective March 16, told WWJ radio. “I think anyone who is watching what is happening globally with this pandemic knows it’s probably very unlikely they are going to get back in school before the end of the year. I haven’t made that call yet because I want to make sure we’ve got a plan to meet the needs of our kids and that’s what we are working on.”

Alabama, Kansas, Oklahoma and Virginia have already canceled school for the rest of the academic year.

Earlier this week, Whitmer ordered Michigan residents to stay at home unless they must leave to go grocery shopping or unless they are an essential service worker. If you’re sick, you shouldn’t leave the house at all. Restaurants are allow only to offer drive-thru, carry-out or delivery. The goal is to keep the number of severe cases small enough that hospitals can handle them.

COVID-19 presents with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. For most who contract it, symptoms are mild. The people most at risk to develop severe complications are the elderly and those with preexisting health problems.

If you think you have coronavirus, call your health care provider. Unless you are in need of emergency help, do not go to the emergency room. Get advice from a doctor over the phone or a televisit and they will direct you on how to get tested.

Other than following social distancing guidelines, you should keep following common-sense health practices, like washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, coughing into your arm or a tissue rather than your hands and avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.


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