COVID 19 Cases in Michigan Spread Across the State

March 23, 2020

Streets in Citys and small towns across the state have little traffic due to the expodential spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 cases across Michigan.

By Pat Maurer

March 10th there were just two confirmed cases of COVID-19, one in each of two counties in Michigan. As of Tuesday evening, that number had climbed to nearly 11 times that original number with 65 confirmed cases spread over 15 counties, including two northern Michigan counties: Otsego and Leelanau County.

Wednesday added the first Michigan death and 15 more cases bringing the total to 80 confirmed across the state. A Wayne County man in his 50s, who had an underlying medical condition died at a Beaumont Hospital.

The most cases are in Oakland and Wayne Counties with 59 and 24 respectively, followed by Macomb with eleven cases, Washtenaw with seven, Kent with five and Ingham and St. Clare with two each. One each was reported in Otsego, Charlevoix, Bay, Montcalm, Ottawa, Jackson and Monroe and one case was reported in Detroit Wednesday.

By Thursday morning the number of COVID -19 cases in Michigan had grown to 110.

This week Gretchen Whitmer declared a State of Emergency; closed all Kindergarten through 12th grade public schools beginning Monday; and banned dine-in service in bars and restaurants. Whitmer said additional closures have not been ruled out. The public-school closures were originally set through April 5th.

Monday the governor also ordered an extension of unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks and expanded (temporarily) coverage for workers with “family care responsibility” due to school closures or caring for family members who are ill. Workers with symptoms of the virus or are under self-quarantine or self-isolation will also qualify for benefits if they are not covered by paid sick leave or if they are first responders exposed to COVID-19.

Tuesday Whitmer prohibited events and assembly in indoor spaces of over 50 people. The exceptions to the order are health care facilities, workplaces that are not open to the public, the state legislature, mass transit, grocery or consumer goods purchase and agriculture or construction work.

Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Treasury announced that small businesses scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. The department will waive all penalties and interest for 30 days.

Government offices, businesses and Social Services centers across the state were shutting down.

(See related article in this issue for Sheriff’s Office, Courts and County building changes)

Mass panic and a subsequent run on staples, cleaning products, paper products, bread, milk and many other grocery items has emptied most grocery and supermarket businesses with deliveries that are received sold before they can even be put on the shelves in many cases.

To curb price-gouging, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order Sunday restricting a person, or a business from reselling goods or products “grossly in excess of the purchase price of the product.” A business or individuals may not sell a product for more than 20 percent higher than the purchase price, unless the increase is due to the cost to bring the product to market. A violation will be a misdemeanor.

Across the United States, the number of confirmed cases of the virus grew from approximately 1,000 on March 10th to 7,426 on Tuesday evening with 101 deaths, about one-third of those in Washington State. Those figures were reported by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control (WHO and CDC) this week. Of those with COVID – 19, 269 cases are travel-related; 276 were related to close contact; and 6,493 were under investigation.

States with the most cases include New York, Washington and California. Those with the least cases are North Dakota and Idaho

World-wide the numbers of those infected climbed to 208,221 with 8,272 deaths reported, according to the WHO. New cases numbered 11,525 world wide and 820 new cases were reported in the U.S.

The CDC is responding to an outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The outbreak first started in Wuhan, China, in December, but cases have been identified in a growing number of other locations internationally including the United States.

Across the globe, as of Wednesday, COVID-19 has been confirmed in 27 countries in Africa; in 29 countries including the U.S.) in the Americas; in 15 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region; in five countries in Europe; in nine countries in South East Asia; and in 14 countries in the Western Pacific region of the world.

In addition to the CDC, many public health laboratories are now testing for the virus that causes COVID-19.

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