Michigan COVID-19 cases hit 29,200 with over 2,090 deaths

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan reached 29,263 Thursday with 2,093 deaths.

The state added 1,204 new cases and 172 deaths in the Thursday report, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The total of 172 new deaths was the second highest for deaths revealed in a daily report yet.

But 65 of the new deaths were added because of a new weekly review of death certificate data, according to the department. The review identifies records showing COVID-19 infection as a contributing factor to a death and compares those records against confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state's tracking system.

Excluding the death certificate deaths would put the state's normal daily total at 107, which would be lower than past days.

The state had 28,059 confirmed cases and 1,921 deaths as of data released Wednesday

Medical tents are prepared for the first day of testing at the new regional COVID-19 testing facility at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds site in Detroit on Friday.

The majority of cases remain concentrated in the Metro Detroit counties of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, where 78% of cases are located and 84% of deaths. 

About a third of the cases occurred among African Americans and 41% of deaths. 

About 2% of the cases involved Hispanic individuals, while 1% of the deaths involved Hispanic people, according to the state health department. About 1% of the overall cases and 1% of the deaths involved individuals with Arab ethnicity. 

The data on race and ethnicity included large percentages of people with unknown race or ethnicity. When it comes to race, race was unknown in 29% of the cases and in 13% of the deaths. 

The state for the first time on Thursday included data on the number of "congregate setting" facilities —including group homes, prisons, homeless shelters and senior living facilities — where "respiratory outbreaks" had happened. 

In all, 243 facilities across 32 counties were included in the data, including 61 in Wayne County, 56 in Oakland County, 22 in Detroit and 17 in Macomb County. This means Metro Detroit accounted for 64% of outbreaks in Michigan's congregated facilities.  

The number of individual infected in congregate setting was not provided.

The new numbers came a day after thousands of people drove to Lansing to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order.

Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, have said this week they're seeing early signs of a flattening curve of cases in Michigan. But they have both cautioned that lifting social distancing requirements too soon could lead to renewed spikes in cases.

"A plateau does not mean that we are out of the woods,” Khaldun cautioned Wednesday.

Amid signs that COVID-19 is abating in Metro Detroit, the Henry Ford Health System said Thursday it will reopen its five hospitals for surgeries that were discontinued as coronavirus cases surged last month.

Henry Ford's hospitals will resume cancer biopsies, cardiac catherizations and other "time-sensitive" procedures unrelated to the novel coronavirus, Henry Ford Health Senior Vice President Dr. Steven Kalkanis announced during a Thursday media call. 

The three smallest daily totals for new cases in Michigan in April have occurred this week: Sunday, 645; Monday, 997; and Wednesday, 1,058.

Michigan currently ranks fourth among all U.S. states for COVID-19 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.

As of Friday, the state had reported 433 COVID-19 recoveries. These are individuals who tested positive and survived 30 days after the onset of their illness. The figure is updated once per week.