Coronavirus live updates, March 26: Whitmer press conference, first COVID-19 cases reported in Cass, Oceana counties


Here are live updates on the coronavirus for Thursday, March 26.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Here is the latest information on the coronavirus in Michigan, including the number of cases state officials report and other updates affecting West Michigan.

Whitmer: Michigan ranked 5th for COVID-19 cases

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun held a press conference on Thursday, March 26 to provide an update on the state’s COVID-19 response. 

According to the governor, Michigan is ranked 5th in the nation for confirmed cases of COVID-19. Dr. Khaldun says test samples have been collected from over 9,000 people statewide. 

“It is incredibly contagious and deadly. There is no cure. And there’s no vaccine,” Whitmer said. “And we have too few tests and masks and swabs, and gowns, for our medical providers. The only tool we have to fight this and support our health care system is to stay calm.”

Whitmer said in order to get more supplies she has requested a Major Disaster Declaration, in full, and within a matter of days from the federal government.

The governor also reminded residents that the stay at home order must be followed. It went into effect Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. and orders the suspension of all nonessential activity. 

“It’s important that people realize this is not optional. It is not a recommendation,” the governor said during the press conference. “If we don’t all do our part more people are going to get sick, and more people are going to die. And this will go on longer than it needs to.”

She said it will take some time before we can see the impact of Michiganders staying at home.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said that MDHHS is now coordinating with healthcare providers to create “relief hospitals.” Hospitals outside of the southeast Michigan region are asked to offer up 10% of their usual bed capacity to accept patients from other hospitals. The Army Corps said it takes three to four week to set up a relief hospital, but state officials are working to get it done in less time. 

“We already have hospitals stepping up to be a relief hospital, and are starting this process,” Dr. Khaldun said during the press conference. “As we continue to monitor the outbreak and hospital capacity across the state also know, we will remain flexible, so that every community has the healthcare resources that it needs to address and have details on those alternative sites.”

Khaldun said MDHHS is actively working with the state, including state, hospital and private lab partners — as well as several additional hospitals and local leaders — to develop additional testing sites, so Michigan residents can get tested without having to go to an emergency department. At this point, Khaldun says about every week an additional hospital begins its own testing. 

“We are confident that testing in the appropriate manner, will be able to give this state a better understanding of who has the disease, so that we can slow the spread as much as possible,” Khaldun said. 

Cass County reports first COVID-19 case

The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department (VBCDHD) was notified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) of one positive case of COVID-19 in Cass County.  VBCDHD is continuing to investigate the circumstances around this case and working to identify individuals who may have come into close contact with the individual.

VBCDHD said there is one case of COVID-19 in Cass County and two cases in Van Buren County.  

Oceana County reports first COVID-19 case

District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) reported Oceana County’s first confirmed positive case of COVID-19. The individual is a dual resident of Oceana and Mason counties but is currently residing and recuperating in Oceana County. 

DHD#10 said it is investigating the case to identify any close contacts to the individual. Find more information on DHD#10’s website. 

Amazon warehouse worker in Michigan tests positive for COVID-19

Amazon confirmed one of its employees at a sorting center in Brownstown, Mich. tested positive for COVID-19. The worker is in quarantine, along with others who were in close contact with them, for 14 days with pay. 

The company is taking extra precautions, like increased cleaning of door handles, stairway handrails, and screens, as well as social distancing measures, like shifting start and break times.

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Wednesday’s cases

On Wednesday, the state confirmed 506 new COVID-19 cases and 19 more deaths. Statewide there are 2,294 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 43 people have died.

Click here to view the state’s cumulative data.

There were eight deaths in Wayne County, one death in Livingston County, four deaths in Macomb County and six deaths in Oakland County.

Here is our full 13 ON YOUR SIDE coronavirus website.

Do you have more questions about COVID-19 in Michigan? Check out the state’s website. 


Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:  

  • Fever  
  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath  

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:  

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.     
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.    
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.    
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.    
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.  


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