Michigan's COVID-19 cases zoom to 334, as Detroit has 63 new cases

Detroit added 63 confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday to bring its total to 75 as Michigan experienced Thursday a nearly 320% surge in cases, according to city and state data.

The increase in Detroit is part of an overall 254-case uptick across the state, bringing the total to 334 presumptive positive results. 

The new cases — which include private lab data for the first time are spread across 12 counties and Detroit. In 10 cases, the county of residence is unknown.

A Michigan Department of Health and Human Services employee processes tests at the state lab in Lansing.

“We knew there were additional people in Michigan with COVID-19 that had not yet been tested," said Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. "This emphasizes the need to continue to practice social distancing and other community mitigation practices to help slow the spread of this disease.” 

About 87% of the new cases are located in three southeast Michigan counties: Oakland, Wayne and Macomb. Nearly 83% of the total number are located in those counties. 

The new cases include 82 in Oakland County, 45 in Macomb County, 34 in Wayne County and seven in Washtenaw County. 

Among the cases outside Metro Detroit, two people connected to Michigan State University tested positive for the virus, MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. said in a Thursday email to the campus community.

"Both individuals are being treated, and neither person is currently on our campus in East Lansing," Stanley said, adding that the cases aren't related to each other. 

The MSU president provided no other details, citing privacy concerns. 

The state lab, commercial labs and hospital and university labs so far have run 2,449 tests in Michigan. Of those, 131 of the state lab results have come back positive, 203 of the hospital and university lab results and two of the commercial lab results, according to the state. 

Among the entities contributing test data to the state are LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and clinical labs at Sparrow Hospital, Beaumont Hospital Network and Henry Ford Health System. 

Among the 334 positive cases, 51% are men and 47% are women. Nearly 70% of the individuals testing positive are over the age of 40. 

As confirmed cases of coronavirus ramp up in the state and city, Detroit officials are reducing the number of people in city buildings and asking those who can do their jobs remotely to work from home beginning Friday. 

Police, fire, EMS, health and transportation employees are expected to report to work as normal as well as trash, recycling and public works staff. 

“These are the primary services that citizens need from us right now and those all will continue as usual,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement.  “However, with more employees working from home, there will be changes in how some city departments operate to make sure we are slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

The new results doubled the number of presumptive positive cases in Washtenaw County to 14 after adding Thursday's results. All of the cases are in adults and of the new cases, five had no known contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or recent travel, the county department said. 

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Washtenaw County's health office has been working with the individuals to identify and notify close contacts. The county itself declared a state of emergency Wednesday to shift resources quickly to help residents, businesses and communities impacted by the virus.

"Evidence of community spread means we will change how we respond to local cases, especially as the number of tests increases every day,” Jimena Loveluck, Washtenaw County's health officer, said in a Thursday statement.

“But, we must remember this is exactly why we have community mitigation strategies and unprecedented restrictions in place. Our collective goal remains to slow the spread of cases as much as possible. Together, we can do this. Take every possible opportunity to practice prevention and social distancing.”

The number of confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Michigan has continued to climb. On Wednesday, the level hit 80 cases and, by the close of the day, 110.

As of Thursday, three people — all with underlying health conditions — have died of the disease, area hospitals reported. 

The Mid-Michigan District Health Department on Thursday announced its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a resident of Clinton County.

The specimen, officials said, will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing. The department said it will contact those who have been in close contact with the patient and they too will be assessed for symptoms and monitored. 

“We hope this person has a speedy recovery,” Dr. Jennifer Morse, the Mid-Michigan department's medical director, said in a statement. "The Health Department is relying on our communities to work together, be vigilant, and take necessary precautions to slow the spread of illness.”

Due to the evidence of community spread, Washtenaw County said it's no longer naming low-risk exposure locations. 

"Residents can assume there is a possibility the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community," the statement adds. "The Health Department is not announcing evidence of community spread to cause panic, but to reinforce that people should be taking all recommended prevention measures."

The county advises residents to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, work from home, when possible as well as practice social distancing, and to abide by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order that prohibits events and assemblages of groups of over 50 people. 

The Health Department said it's updating the number of cases, hospitalizations and recovered persons on its website.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.