Michigan reports nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, largest daily jump yet

Craig Mauger Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Lansing — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan grew by nearly 1,000 on Saturday — the largest single day jump since the state announced its first case on March 10.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the latest data at 3 p.m. Saturday, showing 993 new cases and 19 new deaths tied to COVID-19. The state's overall totals now stand at 4,650 cases and 111 deaths.

While the numbers are climbing statewide, they continue to spike particularly in Detroit and surrounding areas in southeast Michigan. The state's largest city now has 1,377 confirmed cases up 302 new cases from Friday. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the numbers "are going to get a lot worse" as more people get tested for coronavirus.

"I’m still seeing videos of people gathering in groups," Duggan said Saturday. "It’s so disrespectful to these health workers who are risking their lives along with EMTs and first responders. It’s going to be several weeks. Stay home.”

While Wayne County has about 17% of Michigan's population, it now has about 50% of the state's confirmed coronavirus cases and 41% of the deaths. Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are home to 83% of the state's cases.

Michigan ranked fifth among U.S. states as of early Saturday afternoon for total number of confirmed cases, according to tracking by the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. Michigan was behind only New York, New Jersey, California and Washington.

According to the latest numbers, 57 of Michigan's 83 counties have at least one confirmed case. On Saturday, the state revised its data from Friday to drop Dickinson County off the list of counties with a case but added Osceola County for the first time.

A vehicle enters the COVID-19 testing area at the Michigan State Fairgrounds on Saturday, March 28, 2020.

Michigan has now tested at least 15,282 specimen for COVID-19, according to the state's data. But that total doesn't include all of the tests that have been done.

The new numbers from the Michigan Department of Health and Human services came hours after the White House announced that President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested the declaration on Thursday.

She announced on Saturday morning that Michigan received 112,800 N95 masks from the federal government's strategic national stockpile with an additional shipment of 8,000 masks "on the way." The masks are a key piece of personal protective equipment needed for health care providers.

Appearing on PBS NewsHour Friday night, Whitmer continued to predict that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan will increase in the coming days and she stressed the state's need for more medical supplies.

"We are seeing hospitals that are to capacity already and we are just days into this," Whitmer said. "We are going to continue to see this climb."

Drive-up testing for COVID-19 continues at Beaumont Hospital's north entrance in Royal Oak, Michigan on Friday, March 27, 2020.

As of 9 a.m. Saturday, Henry Ford had a total of 955 patients who tested positive, 199 are hospitalized. Its downtown Level 1 trauma hospital is caring for most COVID-19 patients and several clinics at the hospital have also been relocated to other clinics in Metro Detroit to accommodate additional beds, officials said.

The second-floor gastroenterology suite at its Fairlane center in Dearborn has been converted into a 16-bed inpatient unit for non-COVID patients. It would also serve non-COVID-19 patients from nearby the downtown hospital, officials said. Henry Ford hospitals in Macomb and Wyandott have converted more than 10 operating rooms into intensive care beds.

“We’re in uncharted territory with this pandemic and the challenges it is presenting to hospitals and health systems in this country and worldwide," Bob Riney, Chief Operating Officer and President of Healthcare Operations at Henry Ford, said in a statement. "We’re planning for the worst and doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our patients and our team members and sustain the coordination of care."

Detroit Medical Center would not disclose how many COVID-19 patients it is caring for but said they are using all available spaces in its hospitals to care for patients with the novel virus.

"We have converted operating rooms, outpatient areas and recovery rooms into patient treatment areas to handle the surge," according to DMC. "We are working on ways to mitigate capacity issues by moving patients from hospital to hospital within our system."

Local people impacted

The state has a plethora of residents asking for prayers over social media for themselves or their loved ones as they battle the novel coronavirus. 

Nearly 500 Detroit officers are being quarantined after 39 officers tested positive, along with Chief James Craig, the mayor announced Friday.

Among the deaths are a Detroit police civilian dispatcher, homicide Capt. Jonathan Parnell, 50, and entrepreneur Marlowe Stoudamire, 43. 

On Saturday, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napolean updated the community on his brother, Hilton Napoleon's health after contracting the virus. Hilton Napolean, the Highland Park Police Chief, has been in intensive care for two weeks.

A male cousin of the Napoleon brothers died from the virus last week, Benny Napoleon said.

"He is winning small yet impactful battles day by day," Napolean wrote on Facebook. "The hospital is doing a phenomenal job in providing him with the best care possible and trying every method of treatment. We are confident that the Lord will continue to heal his body and that Hilton will walk away with a testimony! Please continue to pray for my brother and our family."

NBC reporter Shomari Stone in Washington, D.C. said he and his wife, veterinarian Dr. Kristal Southern, have five family members in Detroit who contracted coronavirus. 

Stone asked his audience for prayers Saturday, telling The Detroit News the situation has been overwhelming to watch from afar.