State of Wayne County address pushed back due to virus response

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit — Though Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is now removed from his self-imposed 14-day quarantine, after exposure to a staffer who tested positive for COVID-19, the State of the County speech, originally planned to stream online Thursday night, has been pushed back, the county confirmed.

More:Wayne County exec isolated self after staffer got COVID-19

Bill Nowling, a spokesman for Evans, said via email that the county executive is "focused 100% on the COVID-19 response," when asked why the speech was moved.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans

The news was first reported by WWJ950 radio.

Evans' 14-day isolation ended Tuesday. The staff member who tested positive was still sick and hospitalized as of Tuesday. 

During Evans' isolation, he took phone calls and participated in meetings via remote technology.

Even if the State of the County address had taken place Thursday as planned, it would have looked differently this year. On March 12, when the coronavirus outbreak was still in its infancy in Michigan, Evans' office announced that "out of an abundance of caution," a "truncated" version of the annual address would be delivered online, rather than the traditional in-person format that can draw crowds of 700.

On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a "stay at home" order that went into effect Tuesday and will last through April 13, the day after Easter. 

As of the latest numbers, updated Tuesday, 1,791 people had been infected with the virus in Michigan, and 24 people had died from it.

That death toll includes two Detroit Police Department staffers and a well-known Detroit-based consultant and entrepreneur, Marlowe Stoudamire. 

Wayne County is in the midst of a two-week paid furlough for non-essential workers, which started Monday, March 16 and will end Sunday, March 29. It has suspended a number of events, including the Marshmallow Drop, scheduled for April 10.