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Coronavirus updates, Oct. 21: State reports 1,597 daily cases, 33 deaths

Here are the live updates for Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Credit: WZZM/CDC

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

Wednesday's cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,597 daily cases of coronavirus Wednesday. The total number of cases is now 150,989.

There were 33 deaths recorded. The death toll has reached 7,086.

See the cumulative data here.

The latest data on recoveries is from Friday, Oct. 16. It shows that 109,539 people have recovered from the virus. The state updates this data every Saturday. A recovery is counted as anyone who is 30 days out from the onset of their symptoms.   

Hospitalizations are fluctuating. There are 1,177 suspected/confirmed COVID-19 adult patients in Michigan hospitals, 106 patients on ventilators as of Oct. 20.

Michigan is reporting the number of cases at long term care facilities. That data can be seen here. The state is also now reporting school-related outbreaks and that data can be viewed here.

Gov. Whitmer to provide an update on state's COVID-19 response

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun will provide an update regarding COVID-19 and the continued efforts to slow the spread of the virus on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. 

MDHHS issues emergency order updating requirements for residential care facilities to allow indoor visits

Wednesday, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order, under MCL 333.2253, that updates and further expands requirements for residential care facilities. 

The emergency order also permits indoor visitation in residential care facilities in certain circumstances.

The residential care order continues to limit communal dining and internal and external group activities consistent and it requires quick notification in the event an employee or resident is confirmed as positive for COVID-19. 

Under the order, visitation rules are linked to the risk level of the county. A list of county risk levels is available on the MI Safe Start Map.

Indoor visitation is now allowed in areas where the current risk level is A, B, C, or D, so long as the facilities have had no new cases, including those involving residents or staff, originating within the prior 14 days.

Read more here.

Healthcare workers will be first people to get COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan, state plan says

The state has released its plan on how it will distribute a vaccine for COVID-19 once its available. It will be rolled out in three phases, with the first priority going to health care workers. There are a dozens vaccines currently in clinical trials and some companies say they could know whether their vaccine is ready for mass distribution by as early as mid-November. 

Read more here.

Two West Michigan schools move to remote learning

Northern Hills Middle School is moving to remote learning until Friday, Oct. 23 due to two recent cases of COVID-19 in students. 

According to a letter sent to parents, 25% of the 8th grade students are out of school due to quarantine requirements. School officials are expected to contact parents at the end of the week regarding school next week, and whether the virtual learning will be extended. 

Wyoming Junior High students and staff are also moving to remote learning until Oct. 26 for contact tracing, according to Wyoming Public Schools Superintendent Craig Hoekstra.

Hoekstra said that on Oct. 20, the Kent County Health Department notified the school district that an individual at Wyoming Junior High had tested positive for COVID-19.

Whitmer signs bill to extend unemployment benefits to 26 weeks through 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two Senate bills to expand unemployment benefits in Michigan. The legislation codifies part of her executive orders. 

The bills will extend unemployment benefits for Michiganders who lost work because of the COVID-19 pandemic from 20 weeks to 26 weeks through the end of 2020.

Read more here.

Tuesday's cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,586 daily cases of coronavirus Tuesday. The total number of cases is now 149,392.

There were 22 deaths recorded, but one came from a review of death certificate data. The death toll has reached 7,053.

See more from Tuesday's update here.

State recommendations for COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe illnesses. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the CDC. The symptoms include:

  • Fever  
  • Cough  
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

*Note: This list does not include all possible symptoms. It will be updated as the CDC and health officials learn more about the virus. 

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.


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