Coronavirus claims 3,789 lives in Michigan as state ramps up testing


The marquee of the Majestic Theatre in Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling
  • The marquee of the Majestic Theatre in Detroit.

Michigan’s coronavirus death toll rose to 3,789 on Thursday, up 119 in the past day.

Of those, 40 were older cases found in a review of backlogged death certificates.

Michigan also reported 980 new positive cases, bringing the total to more than 41,000.

For 15 straight days, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped, from 3,910 to 2,319. During the same period, the number of patients on a ventilator declined 32%, from 1,235 to 760.

The state also is expanding its testing capacity, which experts say is essential to gauge the scope of the spread and catch early warning signs of a surge. In April, the state averaged 5,329 tests a day. In the past week, the daily average increased to 7,439. The goal is to reach 15,000 and expand testing to asymptomatic employees who are returning to work, says Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer.


“We are making much progress in Michigan to combat COVID-19, but we’re still in the early months of fighting this virus,” Khaldun said at a news conference on Thursday. “We can beat this disease, but it’s going to be a long-term effort that will go well into next year.”

Detroit, which on Tuesday surpassed New York City in coronavirus deaths per capita, reported 28 new deaths, bringing its total to 1,036. The city now has more than 9,000 confirmed cases.

Wayne County reported reported 55 new deaths, bringing its total to 1,787. The county now has nearly 18,000 confirmed cases, up 235 in the past day.

Oakland County’s death toll increased by 28, bringing its total to 696. The state’s second-largest county now has 7,276 positive cases, up 117 in the past day.

Macomb County reported six new deaths, pushing is total to 603. The county now has 5,513 positive cases, up 83 in the past day.

Only five counties — all in the Upper Peninsula — have not yet reported a positive case.

The coronavirus has taken root in prisons, where nearly half of the tested inmates have confirmed infections. The number of positive cases in state-run prisons has more than quadrupled since April 12, from 335 to 1,412. During the same period, coronavirus deaths have increased from eight to 41.

On Wednesday, several inmates filed a class-action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections, alleging the state has subjected them to cruel and unusual punishment due to its handling of the outbreak inside its prisons.

Michigan has the third largest coronavirus death toll in the nation, behind New York and New Jersey.

In Lansing on Thursday, armed protesters swarmed the Capitol, rallying against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.

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