Coronavirus peak still weeks away, Michigan officials warn


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at Monday's press conference. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at Monday's press conference.

Michigan will continue to see an exponential increase in new coronavirus cases and deaths for several weeks, state officials warned Monday.

“Current models suggest we are likely several weeks away from a peak in the number of cases in Michigan,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health in Michigan, said at a news conference Monday. “We are still in the early stages of spread in Michigan.”

Over the past five days, deaths in Michigan have tripled, reaching 35 on Sunday. The state reported more than 1,800 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, bringing the total to nearly 5,500. The state now ranks fourth in total coronavirus cases in the U.S., behind New York, New Jersey, and California.

The steep increase of new cases is putting a strain on hospitals that are already overwhelmed and need more health care workers, ventilators, intensive-care units, and personal protective gear like masks, gloves, and gowns.

“Unfortunately we know several of our hospitals in the state, particularly in southeast Michigan, are at capacity,” Khaldun said. “We will need additional medical professionals, doctors, nurses, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and others to respond to this crisis.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged residents to adhere to her state-at-home order that closed all but nonessential businesses on March 24. The order is in place for at least three weeks.

“People should not be leaving their homes for things that are not essential,” Whitmer said. “This is not the time to have extended family gatherings.”

Public health officials across the country are warning that Detroit and Michigan are becoming hotspots for the highly contagious disease.

“No one could have predicted we would have been in this position a week ago, and we don’t know precisely where we are going to be a week from now,” Whitmer said.

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