Michigan COVID-19 deaths reach 2,308, but recoveries on rise

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Michigan's COVID-19 cases totaled 30,791 on Saturday, with 2,308 deaths. But the state also reported a significant increase in the number who have recovered since last week.

The state reported 3,237 COVID-19 recoveries through Thursday, up from 433 on the same day last week. People are counted as recovered if they were confirmed to have the virus and survived 30 days from the onset of the illness. The state is updating the recovery number once a week.

Numbers released at 3 p.m. Saturday showed there were 768 new cases in the state since Friday — a slight increase over Friday's increase of 760 new coronavirus cases. 

The number of new deaths declined however, with 81 reported on Saturday compared with 134 reported the previous day.  

Michigan topped 30,000 cases on Friday, when 30,023 were reported in the daily data release.

Friday's increase in COVID-19 cases was the lowest daily increase in 22 days, with 760 cases added since Thursday. 

On Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during a Detroit Regional Chamber teleconference that the state's stay-at-home order has had an impact and officials have started to see the curve of cases flatten.

But Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, on Saturday called for Whitmer to ease restrictions that were tightened on April 9 when the governor extended her stay-at-home orders through April 30.

Whitmer on Friday said state officials want to see a "sustained flattening" to feel confident about beginning to lift social distancing restrictions.

"We don't want to pull back too quickly and watch it grow again," Whitmer said. "But there are some very hopeful signs."

But in a Saturday letter to Whitmer, the House speaker said Michigan a "national outlier" for the severity of its restrictions.

"This decision has put additional people out of work and hindered the basic freedoms and liberties of more citizens than the data justifies," Chatfied wrote.

Michigan's high mark for new cases confirmed in a 24-hour period came April 3 when 1,943 new cases were reported.

Drive-thru coronavirus testing at 1200 N. Telegraph, by appointment, in Pontiac, Michigan on April 16, 2020.

Michigan has the fourth most confirmed cases of all U.S. states and the third most deaths, according to tracking from the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.

Of Michigan's 83 counties, 78 —  or 94% — have at least one confirmed case. With Benzie County reporting its first two cases, the disease is now present in every county the Lower Peninsula. Chippewa County in the Upper Peninsula also reported its first case. 

Of the state's cases, 77% are in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, including Detroit.. But the percentage of statewide cases in the three counties has dropped from above 86% as cases have grown in other areas of Michigan in the past few weeks.

Friday's new numbers came about eight hours after Whitmer appeared on "Good Morning America" and said she hoped for "some relaxing" of Michigan's stay-at-home restrictions on May 1, when her latest order expires.

"I’ll be able to share a lot more detail about the thought process and our analysis as we go into next week," Whitmer told The Detroit News in an interview.

Later in the day, President Donald Trump tweeted, "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" He issued similar tweets about Minnesota and Virginia. All three states have Democratic governors and have had protests over the governors' stay-at-home policies.

Through Thursday, Michigan had reported 107,791 COVID-19 tests happening in the state.

For the seven-day period ending Thursday, the daily average for tests coming back positive was 28%. For the seven-day period before that, the daily average for positive tests was 37%.

The percentage of those tests coming back positive has dropped in recent days. In the seven-day period ending Wednesday, a daily average of 29% of the tests came back positive, according to the state data. Over the previous seven-day period from April 2 through April 8, 38% tested positive.


Twitter: @kbouffardDN

Staff writer Craig Mauger contributed.