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Michigan COVID-19 deaths hit 727 with over 17,200 confirmed cases

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — The number of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan jumped by 110 Monday to 727, the largest 24-hour increase the state has reported yet.

The previous single-day high was 80 on Thursday.

Overall, Michigan now has 17,221 confirmed cases of the virus, according to data released Monday afternoon by the Department of Health and Human Services, as some medical experts continued to predict that the peak for cases here may not come until the beginning of May.

Dr. Danielle Leslie administers a COVID-19 test at the Mobile Care Unit outside the Clarkston Medical Group on Thursday, April 2, 2020 .

Dr. Teena Chopra, an infectious disease specialist in Detroit and a professor at Wayne State University, said she has hoped to see some light at the end of the tunnel but "not yet."

"These next few weeks are going to be very, very tough," Chopra said.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, revealed earlier Monday that at least 3,768 patients were hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 as of April 4. Of those, 89% were in Metro Detroit, she said, citing data collected by the state that isn't comprehensive.

“We are not out of the woods yet," Khaldun said. "Our hospitals continue to be overwhelmed, particularly in southeast Michigan."

Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are home to 80% of the confirmed cases of the virus, according to the newest data released by the state.

For the second day straight, Detroit experienced its largest increase in COVID-19 deaths, according to the state numbers. Sunday, the city's death toll increased by 27 to 158. On Monday, it jumped by 35 to 193.

There are many high-risk patients in Detroit, Chopra said, adding that the disease is going to hit the weakest and poorest the hardest.

The number of cases in Michigan continues to get national attention.

On Sunday night, members of President Donald Trump's administration highlighted their efforts to get supplies to Michigan and showed case statistics from Metro Detroit during a White House briefing. Vice President Mike Pence even stated at one point that Illinois and Michigan were at the "forefront" of federal officials' thinking.

The comment came as Michigan ranks third among all U.S. states for the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. Michigan is behind only New York and New Jersey.

It's unclear when coronavirus cases will peak here. The state's first case was confirmed on March 10, 27 days ago.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams predicted during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" over the weekend that nationally, the country will hit its peak in the "next seven to 10 days."

But Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continued to say Monday that Michigan's peak will come at the end of April or the beginning of May.

"We are going to have peaks in different parts of Michigan at different times," Whitmer added during a Capitol press conference.

As of Monday, 85% or 71 of Michigan's 83 counties had at least one confirmed case.

House Democrats revealed earlier in the day that a second state lawmaker from Detroit, Rep. Karen Whitsett, had tested positive for the virus. A third lawmaker, Rep. Isaac Robinson, D-Detroit, died on March 29 with family members suspecting he had COVID-19.

"People really need to take this serious and heed the warnings," Whitsett said in a Monday interview. "If you want to live to be on the other side of this, you need to take the warning. Because it’s real."

The testing numbers available from state early Monday afternoon dated back to Saturday. At that point, 40,581 specimen had been tested with 10,435 found to be positive. But those numbers don't reflect all of the testing that has happened in Michigan.

cmauger@detroitnews.com