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Coronavirus live updates, March 26: 2,856 cases reported, death toll reaches 60

Here are live updates on the coronavirus for Thursday, March 26.
Credit: WZZM/CDC

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Here is the latest information on the coronavirus in Michigan, including the number of cases state officials report and other updates affecting West Michigan.

State total rises to 2,856 and death toll is at 60 as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

There are 564 new cases in the state and 17 newly reported deaths, according to numbers from the state's health department. The state is also now reporting 13 positive cases within the Michigan Department of Corrections, but not all of those cases were new as of Thursday. The state is just now separating MDOC cases from other county cases. 

The most recent deaths were reported in Wayne, Genesee, Mecosta, Macomb, Oakland and Tuscola counties. 

 Look at the cumulative data here. 

State reports testing totals

The state also included a cumulative count Thursday of how many COVID-19 tests have been run. According to state data, over 9,100 COVID-19 tests have been processed in total across state, commercial, hospital and university labs. Those numbers include positive, negative and inconclusive tests. This number does not signify the number of people tested. 

Kent County issues health recommendations for essential business workers

  • People with fever of 100.4 degrees F or greater and coughing unrelated to a chronic lung condition need to stay home until they are free of fever – without the aid of a fever-suppressant – for at least 72 hours and at least 7 days have passed since the symptoms began. 
  • Employers providing critical services exempt from the Governor’s Executive Order should take reasonable measures to space patrons and employees at least 6 feet apart, disinfect common touch points, and require ill employees to stay home.
  • Persons knowingly exposed with close contact to an individual positively diagnosed with COVID-19 shall quarantine themselves at home for a period of 14 days since the date of last contact with the ill person.
  • People should avoid public playground equipment and other physical features that promote common touch point experiences. We strongly recommend that owners and operators of public playground equipment place signs or other notices discouraging use of the equipment. If possible, we recommend closing public access to such equipment.

Kalamazoo reports off-duty officer tests positive for COVID-19

Kalamazoo Public Safety learned Thursday that one of its officers was exposed to COVID-19 while off duty. The officer is currently recovering at home. 

Berrien County reports recovery of 3 patients

The county on Thursday declared a State of Emergency, as its case count hit 11. However, Berrien County officials reported that of those 11 cases -- three of them have fully recovered from their symptoms. 

The state said a patient is considered recovered after being fever free for 72 hours (without fever-reducing medications). 

Watch the county's update here. 

Whitmer requests Major Disaster Declaration

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a major disaster declaration from the federal government on Thursday. A letter was sent to the president with the request. 

If granted in full, the disaster declaration would help the state provide meals to families, provide rental assistance and temporary housing. It would also provide additional healthcare capacity and funding if Michigan needs to set up field hospitals. 

Healthcare facilities across the state asked to serve as relief hospitals

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says hospitals in southeastern Michigan are “at or near capacity.” So, she said hospitals across the state are stepping up to be relief hospitals to aid systems in southeast Michigan that have been harder hit. 

Relief hospitals would offer 10% of their usual bed capacity to other patients, Khaldun said. The Army Corps said it takes three to four weeks to set up a relief hospital, but state officials are working to get it done in less time. 

About 30% of COVID-19 cases are in Detroit

The east side of the state is seeing much higher rates of coronavirus than the west side. And the city of Detroit is reporting about 30% of the cases with a total of 851 and 15 deaths. 

This is because of a number of reasons. Whitmer said one possibility is that Detroit is big city, which means people are living closer together and spending more time is close quarters. 

Khaldun, the former Detroit Health Director, said the city also has higher rates of people who would be more susceptible to the virus, including those with underlying health issues.

"When you have, really, generations of concentrated poverty... those social determinants of health impact a city like Detroit," said Khaldun. "When you have pandemics like this it's going to hit those places harder and not just from the health perspective. But, when you talk about even the economic and other things, people not having access to transportation or able to get food."

Cass County reports first COVID-19 case

The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department (VBCDHD) was notified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) of one positive case of COVID-19 in Cass County.  VBCDHD is continuing to investigate the circumstances around this case and working to identify individuals who may have come into close contact with the individual.

VBCDHD said there is one case of COVID-19 in Cass County and two cases in Van Buren County.  

Oceana County reports first COVID-19 case

District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) reported Oceana County's first confirmed positive case of COVID-19. The individual is a dual resident of Oceana and Mason counties, but is currently residing and recuperating in Oceana County. 

DHD#10 said it is investigating the case to identify any close contacts to the individual. Find more information on DHD#10's website. 

Amazon warehouse worker in Michigan tests positive for COVID-19

Amazon confirmed one of its employees at a sorting center in Brownstown, Mich. tested positive for COVID-19. The worker is in quarantine, along with others who were in close contact with them, for 14 days with pay, according to the company. 

The company is taking extra precautions, like increased cleaning of door handles, stairway handrails, and screens, as well as social distancing measures, like shifting start and break times.

►Read more: https://bit.ly/2vQl9GR

Wednesday's cases

On Wednesday, the state confirmed 506 new COVID-19 cases and 19 more deaths. Statewide there were 2,294 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 43 deaths.

Here is our full 13 ON YOUR SIDE coronavirus website.

Do you have more questions about COVID-19 in Michigan? Check out the state's website. 

STATE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COVID-19

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:  

  • Fever  
  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath  

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:  

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.     
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.    
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.    
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.    
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.  

MORE CORONAVIRUS NEWS:

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