Whitmer expects 'short-term extension' on stay-at-home order as coronavirus death toll reaches 2,813


Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, left, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a recent press conference. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, left, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a recent press conference.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday to expect a “short-term extension” of her stay-at-home order as the state continues to report more than 100 new coronavirus deaths a day.

“We’re starting to see the curve flattening,” Whitmer said at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re saving lives.”

Whitmer said the social-distancing measures won’t go away anytime soon, but will be lifted in "waves."

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” she said. “There will be some version of a stay-at-home order for awhile.”

One of the biggest hurdles to reopening the economy is a shortage of diagnostic tests. Over the past month, the state averaged 4,500 daily diagnostic tests.

“We think we need to get to about 15,000 tests to get a better understanding of who is infected in the state,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.

The state reported 113 new deaths, bringing the state’s total to 2,813.

Michigan now has nearly 34,000 positive coronavirus cases, up 999 in the past day.

More than a third of the new deaths occurred in Wayne County, bringing its total to 1,319 fatalities. The county has 14,561 positive cases, up 306 in the past day.

In Detroit, the number of deaths rose from 716 to 733, one of the smallest one-day increases in the past month.

“The overall trends look good,” Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference on Wednesday. “All of the numbers are headed in the right direction.”

One troubling spot in Detroit is nursing homes, where city health officials are now testing every resident and patient. Since the outbreak, 129 nursing home residents and staff members have died.

Macomb County reported 28 new deaths, bringing its total to 473. The county also has 4,251 positive cases, up 106 in the past day.

In Oakland County, the number of deaths rose from 506 to 529. The county reported 120 new positive cases, bringing its total to 6,021.

The coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate inside Michigan-run jails. In the past 10 days, the number of inmates who tested positive rose from 364 to 655, a 79.9% increase. During the same period, the number of deaths jumped from eight to 25.

Meanwhile, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, falling from 3,636 on April 1o to 3,305 on Wednesday. The number of COVID-19 patients on a ventilator has fallen from 1,441 on April 10 to 1,065 on Wednesday, a 26.1% decrease.

“Hospitals are now discharging more patients than they are admitting,” Khaldhun said.

But, she emphasized, "We're not yet out of the woods. We are closely monitoring the entire state."

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