Macomb County man is Michigan's 8th COVID-19 death

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Michigan hospitals and health departments on Saturday reported four additional deaths linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the state's number of virus-related deaths to eight in a four-day span. 

A 52-year-old Macomb County man with underlying health conditions died at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital Saturday, the health system said. 

A 71-year-old Kent County man with underlying conditions died at a Spectrum Health hospital in West Michigan Saturday, according to the health system and Kent County Health Department Director Adam London.

Earlier in the day, a 90-year-old Oakland County woman with underlying health issues died at Henry Ford Health System's Bloomfield Hospital.

And a Detroit woman in her 90s died from complications related to COVID-19, the Detroit Health Department confirmed Saturday. The department declined to release information as to date of the woman's death, her place of hospitalization or any underlying conditions.

The deaths marked a "sad day" for the region and Macomb County, said county executive Mark Hackel during a press conference late Saturday night. The county has 121 confirmed cases, ranging from a one-month-old infant to a 100-year-old individual.

“We figured this day was coming,” Hackel said while announcing the Macomb County resident's death, the first in the county.  

“Today happens to be that day,” he continued. “It is sad. When you think of somebody who’s only 52 years of age, that is a life cut short.” 

The deaths occurred as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan increased by 238 Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 787. 

The new cases include 193 in the Metro Detroit counties of Oakland, Wayne and Macomb. Overall, confirmed cases in those counties make up 86% of the cumulative total throughout the state.

Numbers in those counties continue to rise at a faster rate than other areas of Michigan. But Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Friday there is not enough data yet to determine if the higher numbers there are simply because more people are being tested or proof that those areas have a higher occurrence than elsewhere in the state. 

Out of state, testing has shown confirmed coronavirus cases in 14 other counties including one in Barry County, two in Berrien County, one in Calhoun County, one in Clare County, six in Genesee County, and nine in Kent County.

The number of counties reporting confirmed cases has risen from 15 in Wednesday's data to 27 on Saturday. 

Of the 787 cases, 51% are men and 49% are women. Three-quarters of the state's cumulative cases involve individuals over the age of 40. 

Besides the deaths announced Saturday, the deceased so far have had underlying conditions. They include a Southgate man in his 50s, an 81-year-old Detroit woman, a Detroit woman in her 50s, and a 50-year-old Oakland County man. 

In neighboring Windsor, Ontario, health officials Saturday said a Canadian man in his 20s who works for a health care facility in Michigan tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. 

He developed symptoms March 15 and was tested March 17 at his place of employment in southeast Michigan. He is isolating at home with mild symptoms. 

The health department in Windsor said it had contacted the Detroit Health Department to alert the agency to the circumstances. Windsor officials did not publicly disclose the man's place of employment.

Detroit Health Department Spokeswoman Vicki Winn declined to say whether the department had been contacted but said, if it had, the department would follow contact tracing protocol to alert all those the individual had come into contact with. 

Staff writer Craig Mauger contributed.