Michigan governor extends stay-home order; local legislators have concerns

LANSING — Thursday Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-42, extending her prior “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through the end of April. As with the prior order, Executive Order 2020-42 limits gatherings and travel and requires all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home. Executive Order 2020-42 also imposes more stringent limitations on stores to reduce foot traffic, slow the spread of the coronavirus, and save lives, according to a news release from michigan.gov.
“Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and we’re still on the upswing. We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” said Whitmer. “Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. When we do, we can save lives and shorten the amount of time we’re working through this crisis, which will be good for our families and good for our economy in the long-run. We can also protect critical infrastructure workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and child care workers. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that people stay home and stay safe.” 
Executive Order 2020-42 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers who meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that in-person work.  
Workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more. For a full list of these critical infrastructure workers, click the link to Executive Order 2020-42 at the bottom of this page. To enable these critical workers to get to their workplaces, automobile dealerships will now be allowed to open for remote sales, though showrooms must remain closed. 
Under the new order, all public and private gatherings among persons outside a single household remain temporarily prohibited. Though Michiganders may leave the house to get groceries or needed supplies, the new order encourages people to limit the number of household members running errands to the maximum extent possible. As before, people may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders. The order clarifies, however, that travel for vacations or for any other purpose is prohibited. 
A new section of the order imposes restrictions on stores in an effort to reduce crowds. Large stores must limit the number of people in the store at one time to no more than 4 customers for every 1,000 square feet of customer floor space; small stores must limit capacity to 25% of the total occupancy limits (including employees) under the fire codes. To regulate entry, stores must establish lines with markings for patrons to enable them to stand at least six feet apart from one another while waiting. Large stores must also close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint. 
“This doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1,” Whitmer continued. “But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension. It will take time to safely and responsibly re-open the economy, which is why we will continue to provide critical unemployment support and assistance to our small businesses during this challenging time. We will get through this if we all continue to do our part.” 
All individuals who leave their home or place of residence must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household. 
Not all Michigan officials are happy with the extension and/or additions to the order.
Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, who serves most of Monroe and Lenawee counties, was among them. He issued the following statement in a news release:
“I am shocked and deeply disturbed about the severe restrictions on people’s freedoms and lives included in the governor’s extended stay-at-home order, even on those in communities with little or no cases of COVID-19.
“Michigan families have done a great job adjusting to life during this extraordinary time, and they deserve to be able to return to their normal lives safely and with proper precautions. Instead, on the Thursday before Easter, the governor continued bans on family gatherings of any size.
“I hope the governor will consider revisions to allow Michigan workers in low-infection areas to get back to work if their employer implements strict health and safety measures to protect their employees and the public.
  “Although I appreciate the governor heeding my advice to allow dealerships to continue sales and leasing online and allowing delivery directly to homes, I am greatly disappointed that the governor’s extended stay-at-home order does not allow more Michigan workers in low-risk or low-contact jobs to return to work to support their families.”
Rep. Bronna Kahle, who serves Lenawee County, urged the governor to reconsider some aspects of her new expanded COVID-19 “stay-at-home” order – saying changes could be made to continue protecting public health without forcing even more Michiganders out of work.
“I will continue working with the governor because I agree we must do all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our families, friends and neighbors in Lenawee County and the entire state. But I am concerned some of the items included in the governor’s new order will prolong hardships on residents without helping fulfill that mission,” Kahle said in a news release.
“There are ways we can safely restart parts of the economy while keeping people safe from coronavirus,” Kahle said. “A good start would be looking at jobs and activities through the lens of ‘safe or unsafe’ rather than bogging down in debates about ‘essential vs. non-essential.’ Lenawee residents are counting on us to make decisions that protect public health and also move us toward a return to normalcy and better days ahead. These goals are not mutually exclusive.”

April 9: Monroe County reports first COVID-19 death among 165 cases; Lenawee County at 39 cases, 0 deaths

Monroe County’s coronavirus cases, according to www.michigan.gov’s coronavirus statistics, has climbed to 165 Thursday, April 9, from 152 Wednesday, and the virus has claimed the life of its first victim in Monroe area.

Lenawee County is still, on the Lenawee Department of Health website, still reporting 0 deaths, with a three-case increase to 39. Of those 20 are male, 19 female, seven are hospitalized, 27 are monitoring their symptoms at home, and the number who have recovered has increased today to five.

Hillsdale County has now reported six deaths — up two in 24 hours, and its cases rose from 62 Wednesday to 64 Thursdays.

There is a trend developing at the state level, though, with new cases down from 1748 Tuesday to 1376 Wednesday and 1158 today. However, deaths have now broken the 1000-person mark with 1076 fatalities attributed to COVID-19, and 117 new deaths today. There were 118 new deaths Tuesday and 114 Wednesday.

Detroit City confirmed cases rose from 5824 to 6061 with 275 total deaths today; Wayne County has 4032 confirmed cases and 229 total deaths; Oakland is at 4247 confirmed cases in the county with 246 deaths; and Macomb County has 2783 total cases with 165 total deaths.

Washtenaw County has confirmed 637 cases and 15 deaths, an increase of two over the prior day. Jackson County is reporting 131 cases and four deaths.

To the south, Ohio has 5512 total cases with 497 people admitted to ICUs, 1612 hospitalized and 213 deaths.

Lucas County has 403 confirmed cases and 144 hospitalizations and 16 deaths. Fulton County, south of Lenawee County, remains at five cases with two hospitalizations.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today extended her statewide “Stay-home, stay-safe” order to May 1, 2020. She limited travel, saying people cannot go to their second homes and limiting the people in a household who can run errands.

April 8, 2020: Lenawee County reports 36 coronavirus cases, no deaths

Lenawee County’s coronavirus caseload increased to 36 from 32 Tuesday, but there are still no deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the county.

Nineteen males and 17 females have tested positive for the virus. Of the 36, 26 are monitoring symptoms at home and seven are hospitalized with three recovered.

In Michigan, the total has exceeded the 20,000 mark at 20346 cases confirmed with 969 total state deaths. However, the daily new confirmed cases was 1376, which is down from 1748 new cases Tuesday, and the daily deaths were down slightly to 114 today from 118 Tuesday.

Detroit City’s case rate is nearing 6000 with 5824 confirmed cases, and 251 deaths. Oakland County follows with 4007 cases and 234 deaths, followed by Wayne County with 3802 cases and 195 deaths, and Macomb with 2626 cass and 141 deaths.

Counties neighboring Lenawee include Washtenaw with 610 cases and 13 deaths; Monroe with 152 cases (up from 129 Tuesday) and zero deaths; and Hillsdale County which rose from 55 to 62 cases with four deaths.

April 7: Lenawee holding steady on COVID-19 cases

Lenawee County showed no increases in coronavirus cases, holding at 32 confirmed cases of which seven people are hospitalized, 22 are monitoring symptoms at home, and three are recovered.

Over in Hillsdale County, though, numbers were up sharply from 46 cases Monday to 55 Tuesday, and one more death for a total of four.

Michigan overall is also experiencing a large increase going from 17,221 Monday confirmed cases to 18,970 Tuesday. Deaths rose to 845 statewide with 118 new deaths Tuesday. The number of new cases was also up after a weekend of declines. There were 1748 new cases confirmed across the state.

Other neighboring areas showed 114 cases in Jackson County with four deaths; 559 cases in Washtenaw County with 11 deaths; and 129 total confirmed cases in Monroe County which still has zero deaths.

The Detroit area showed a marked increase of cases in Detroit City with 5478 Detroiters having been confirmed with COVID-19, and 222 dying. Wayne County has 3569 confirmed cases and 180 deaths today; Oakland County has 3736 cases and 205 deaths; and Macomb County has 2414 cases and 121 deaths.

But the COVID-19 story is far different just over the stateline to the south Ohio has a total of 4872 cases statewide — fewer than Detroit City alone which has 5478.i There have been 167 deaths, an increase of three from Monday to Tuesday. Hospitalizations in Ohio stand at 1354.

In Lucas County, home of Toledo, there have been 347 cases, 104 hospitalizations and 16 deaths. It is third in Ohio for the number of deaths. Two other counties have 19 each. Fulton County, directly south of Lenawee County, remains at five cases and two hospitalizations. No one has died of the coronavirus at this point in Fulton County.

April 6: Lenawee County’s COVID-19 count at 32

Lenawee County was reporting 32 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with seven hospitalized, 22 treating the illness at home and three recovered as of Monday, April 6, 2020. No deaths had been confirmed at that time that were caused by COVID-19.

Monroe has 117 confirmed cases as of Monday. Washtenaw County had 539 cases with 10 deaths. Jackson had 103 cases and four deaths. Hillsdale had 46 cases and three deaths. As of Monday there were 30,030 tests in Michigan that had produced a negative result.

Ohio’s Department of Health reported Monday there were 4,450 total cases in Ohio with 1,214 requiring hospitalization. There were 142 deaths in Ohio as of Monday. Fulton County had five cases with two requiring hospitalization and Lucas County had 321 cases with 84 hospitalized and 12 deaths.

For the complete story, please see the Wednesday, April 8, 2020, edition of The Advance.

Alternate care facility site construction to begin in Novi

News release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, 4-7-20

DETROIT — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (USACE), Detroit District, announces it will begin construction on an alternate care facility in Novi, Michigan as efforts to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-led response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

The second conversion in Michigan will take place at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. USACE is coordinating design and construction efforts to adapt more than 250,000 square feet into medical care space. This conversion of the main floor will include approximately 1,100 bed spaces for COVID-19 patients and stations for medical personnel.

“The situation in Michigan continues to evolve and the Corps of Engineers will surge resources to meet the anticipated need,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Turner, district engineer, USACE, Detroit District. “This work that we are doing through FEMA to support the people of Michigan, especially enabling the local hospitals, is a mission that we are ready for.”

Site visits across Michigan to assess and determine the necessary steps to convert existing buildings into alternate care facilities will continue as the state directs. USACE, Detroit District, has performed 26 site visits to date across the state.

Overall, USACE has received 25 FEMA Mission Assignments totaling approximately $1.5 billion, and USACE has more than 15,000 personnel engaged, across our enterprise, in our response effort who are providing support both on site and virtually. Of the USACE personnel engaged, more than 1,800 personnel are deployed.

Through the unified national emergency response framework, USACE deploys hundreds of people to provide technical engineering expertise and promote capacity development at home and abroad. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides management and technical services to include: management and oversight in design, engineering and construction; environmental restoration and management services; research and development assistance.

USACE continues to coordinate at every level with both federal and non-federal stakeholders, including FEMA, Health and Human Services, State of Michigan, Michigan National Guard and many others. Public Safety is the Corps’ number one priority, according to the release.

April 5, 2020: 31 COVID-19 cases, 0 deaths in Lenawee County

The COVID-19 case count in Lenawee County rose to 31 Sunday, April 5, 2020, from 27 the day previous. There are 16 males and 15 females among the confirmed cases, but at the time of the Lenawee County Health Department reporting – 11:15 a.m. Sunday – there were still no fatalities attributed to the coronavirus in Lenawee County.

Seven of the 31 are hospitalized, according to the county health department, but 23 are monitoring at home, and one has recovered.

In Michigan, Sunday, according to michigan.gov’s coronavirus pages, the state’s confirmed case count rose to 15,718 cases, an increase of 1493. But there is a trend in the increase over the weekend: this figure is lower than Saturday’s new-case count of 1511, and represents a marked drop from Friday’s confirmed case count of 1953. The reason for the decline was not stated and is just reported here statistically.

Deaths increased in Michigan over the weekend to 617 with 77 new deaths. Saturday’s count was 61 deaths with 62 on Friday.

The metro Detroit area’s coronavirus cases continued to climb with 4495 confirmed cases and 158 deaths in Detroit City, 3023 cases in Wayne County with 135 deaths; 3035 in Oakland County with 163 deaths; and 2003 confirmed cases in Macomb County and 83 deaths.

Nearby, Hillsdale County now has 44 confirmed cases with three COVID-19 deaths; Monroe County has 108 cases and no deaths; and Washtenaw County has 518 confirmed cases and eight deaths.

Ohio’s confirmed cases remain far behind those in Michigan at 4043 cases with 1104 hospitalizations and 119 statewide deaths, according to the state’s coronavirus website. The cases and deaths in Detroit City alone exceed the statewide numbers in Ohio.

In Lucas County, which encompasses the Toledo, Ohio, metro area, there are 302 confirmed cases, 63 hospitalizations and eight deaths. Fulton County, directly south of Lenawee County, remains at five cases, two hospitalizations and no deaths attributed to the coronavirus. All statistics were taken from Ohio’s coronavirus website.

April 4: Lenawee cases stands at 27, no deaths

The Lenawee County Health Department reported Saturday, April 4, that there were now 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but no confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

There were 14 males and 13 females reflected in the 27, with seven hospitalized, 19 being monitored in their homes and one recovered, according to the Lenawee County Health Department website’s coronavirus site.

Michigan statewide, saw an increase of 1511 new confirmed cases on Saturday, April 4, 2020, bringing the total to 14,225. However, the increase Friday, April 3, 2020, was 1953, 442 more than Saturday. There were 61 new deaths in the state, for a total of 540 in Michigan. There were 62 new deaths Friday.

Near Lenawee County, neighboring Hillsdale County rose to 37 cases with two deaths of the Saturday official count. Washtenaw had 501 cases with eight deaths. Monroe County was reporting 101 cases, but no deaths. These statistics were found on michigan.gov’s coronavirus section of the website.

Over the state line in the Toledo metropolitan area, Lucas County on the Ohio state coronavirus website reported 272 confirmed cases, 49 hospitalizations and seven deaths. To the west, Fulton had five cases with two hospitalizations and no deaths.

Ohio, overall, is far behind Michigan with a total of 3739 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 326 in ICUs, 1006 hospitalized and 102 deaths, according to the Ohio coronavirus website.

April 3: Lenawee County holding at 24 coronavirus cases, 0 deaths

A news release from the Lenawee County Commission Chairman David Stimpson said the death suspected of being the county’s first COVID-19 death has not been ruled as such.
“On March 31, 2020, a 52-year-old Raisin Township man passed away. His primary health care physician ruled the death cardiac arrest and noted suspected COVID-19,” Stimpson wrote.
However, he said the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is not qualifying this death as being a COVID-19 death “at this time” and “the state will later make the decision under their guidlines.”
Lenawee actually saw no increase in coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, standing at 24 cases with zero deaths. The Lenawee County Health Department, as of 1:15 p.m. today, April 3, said there had been 24 positive tests covering 12 males and 12 females. There had been six hospitalizations, 17 people who were being monitored at home and one who had recovered. There have been zero confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the county.

But at the state level, Michigan experienced its largest hike since the crisis began, with 1953 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the state total to 12,744 with the majority in the Detroit area. There were 62 new deaths reported in the state.

Nearby, Hillsdale County has 26 cases, surpassing Lenawee County with two deaths, and Monroe County has 95 cases with zero deaths. Washtenaw County has 477 confirmed cases and eight deaths.

Just over the state line, Lucas County has 233 confirmed cases with 38 hospitalizations and four deaths in the Toledo area. Fulton County, just south of this area over the Ohio line, is still had only three confirmed cases with zero deaths.

The state of Ohio, however, did experience a 410-case increase today advancing from 2902 confirmed cases Thursday to 3312 today. Deaths rose from 81 COVID-19 deaths to 91 today.

Lenawee County COVID-19 count increases to 24 cases

The state of Michigan coronavirus figures released at 3 p.m. today, April 2, 2020, showed 24 confirmed cases and no deaths in Lenawee County, which is an increase of two cases over the previous day.

Lenawee County, however, reported one new case of COVID-19 in the health department’s daily update which came earlier than the state report. The total of confirmed positive cases stood at 23 at that time. In Lenawee, ninety-three people have had negative test results and 24 residents have test results pending.

A Raisin Township resident may have died from the COVID-19 virus, Lenawee County board Chairman David Stimpson said in a news release Thursday. County officials are aware of the case. Stimpson said the attending physician, who is not a county employee, will certify the cause of death.

The resident was not tested for COVID-19 prior to passing away, according to the release.

“To my understanding the resident was not tested after death either, Stimpson said.

The health department is working with other members of the household to mitigate exposure, Stimpson said.

He encouraged residents who have symptoms of COVID-19 to contact their primary care physician, urgent care or health clinic for screening.

Michigan’s cases rose today to 10,791 overall with 1457 new cases, 80 new deaths and 417 total deaths in the state.
Ohio has 2902 total cases and 81 total deaths statewide. Lucas County (Toledo area) has 206 cases, 35 hospitalizations and three deaths. Fulton County, to the west of Lucas, has three cases, one hospitalization and no deaths. The hot spot in Ohio remains Cuyahoga County with 663 total cases confirmed, 166 hospitalizations and 12 deaths.

Detroit area remains Michigan’s hot spot with 2858 confirmed cases in the city of Detroit and 101 deaths; 1332 cases in Macomb County and 58 deaths; 2183 confirmed cases in Oakland County and 119 deaths and Wayne County had 2211 confirmed cases with 93 deaths.

Neighboring counties of Hillsdale has caught up with Lenawee with 24 cases and there is also a confirmed death there; and Washtenaw County reported 438 confirmed cases today with eight deaths. Monroe County has 79 cases and no deaths from the coronavirus.

The average age of those who have died in Michigan from COVID-19 is 71.3 with a median age of 73. Ages of deaths have ranged from 20-107, according to michigan.gov’s coronavirus page.