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Metro Detroit’s Latest COVID-19 Updates: April 6

Emma Klug, April 6, 2020

The CDC reports that there are now 330,891 cases of COVID-19 and 8,910 deaths in the U.S. States being hit the hardest continue to be New York, New Jersey, and Michigan according to The New York Times. As a result, states are starting to work together to gather supplies. Today, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California announced that the state would return its 500 ventilators to the national stockpile to help New York and other states. Meanwhile, shut-ins across the country continue to impact life in America. Today, Wisconsin postponed its primary election, which was scheduled to take place on April 7, and the National Football League announced that the upcoming NFL draft will be done virtually. Here’s what’s happening in metro Detroit:

The state of Michigan today reported 1,503 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 110 deaths. That brings the states total to 17,221 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 727 deaths. []

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, the annual indie car race scheduled this year for May 29-31 on Belle Isle, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Officials with the Grand Prix say they worked with the City of Detroit, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Belle Isle Conservancy, and the racing series over the past few weeks to try to reschedule the race for another date in 2020, but they were unable to do so due to logistical and scheduling issues. Those who purchased tickets for the event will be contacted. [Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix]

Providing a COVID-19 update from the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says that the state is “running dangerously low” on personal protective equipment. Beaumont Health, for example, will be out of N95 masks — the masks, which filter at least 95% of airborne particles, that healthcare professionals across the country need to face COVID-19 — in less than three days. Henry Ford Health System has less than four days, and the Detroit Medical Center has less than 10 days. Within three days, all three health systems will run out of face shields, and less than six days until they run out of surgical gowns. The data does not include private donations. “While these timelines are very serious, they’re a vast improvement from where we were just a week ago when we were living day to day,” Whitmer says, “but I highlight them because we must continue to do more.” Today, she says the state began distributing 1.2 million surgical masks, and within the next 24-48 hours, FEMA is sending hundreds of ventilators, 1.1 million surgical masks, 232,000 face shields, and 2 million gloves to Michigan. The entire conference can be viewed on the Michigan State Police Facebook page. [Facebook: Michigan State Police]

In his daily news conference at Eastern Market, Mayor Mike Duggan shared that, at this point, 154 Detroit Police officers have tested positive for COVID-19, and another 400 are in quarantine. At the Detroit Fire Department, 43 employees have tested positive and 79 are quarantined. The mayor also shared that he had considered closing the city’s parks by April 11, but for now, has reconsidered after being reassured that social distancing was being practiced across the city this past weekend. However, he still is pushing residents to taking social distancing practices seriously and shared two new updates. Starting today, the mayor said that if a police offer notices a group of people gathered at a property, and the individuals scatter before $1,000 tickets can be issued, the ticket will then be given to the owner of the property. Secondly, the mayor restated that car washes are not considered essential businesses. Therefore, the city plans to shut down any car washes that are still staffed — fully-automated washes are excluded. Watch the entire conference at the City of Detroit Government’s Facebook page. [Facebook: City of Detroit Government]

The City of Detroit government also launched a new program called Feed the Front Lines today. As part of the initiative, more than 10,000 meals will be delivered this month to Detroit hospitals, police precincts, firehouses, and Detroit Department of Transportation terminals. The city is looking for businesses that can providing individually packaged meals for $15 or less and encourages Detroit-based restaurants and catering companies to visit to get involved. Individuals interested in supporting the cause can also visit the website to donate. The first $25,000 raised will be matched by yhe Quicken Loans Community Fund. [Feed The Front Lines Detroit]

In an Instagram Live today, Denise Fair, the City of Detroit’s Chief Public Health Officer, spoke with Detroit rapper Royce da 5’9” about coronavirus. In the video, Fair shared that it’s a misconception that only older people are getting COVID-19. “Not only are the elderly getting this virus, it’s also the younger people as well. They’re not invincible at all,” she says. She also said the that the rumors that taking a hot bath or a hair dryer to remove COVID-19 are not true, and urged viewers to go to visit the Detroit Health Department, CDC, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services websites to get the most accurate information. The nearly hour-long chat can be viewed on Royce da 5’9”’s Instagram page. [Instagram: @royceda59]

New Standard, a Southeast Michigan cannabis startup that opened its first location at 24906 John R. in Hazel Park on April 3, is offering curbside pick-up and, in the coming weeks, will begin offering delivery to eligible customers.  The shop, servicing medical marijuana users, is also donating a portion of its proceeds at this time to local retailers that were forced to temporarily close. [New Standard]

Engineers at the University of Michigan are working to develop ways to efficiently disinfect N95 respirator masks so they can be worn more than one time.  Following initial testing, the engineers found that a combination of ultraviolet light and humid heat, as well as hydrogen peroxide, may disinfect the masks. After they’ve been decontaminated, the masks are tested again to see how well they fit. [University of Michigan]

Over the upcoming weeks, Detroit-based Little Caesars plans to donate and deliver 1 million pizzas to healthcare workers and first responders across the country. The initiative will kick off tomorrow with a delivery to Detroit Medical Center. And, starting April 13, customers who are placing an order using the Little Caesars app or website may decide to donate a pizza to a nearby hospital or police or fire department. [Little Caesars]

The University of Detroit Mercy and Pope Francis Center, a nonprofit organization that helps Detroit’s homeless population, have partnered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The center, located next door to the university law school’s downtown building, closed on March 16 because of the coronavirus. Now, the University of Detroit Mercy has revamped its law school student parking lot to serve those who once frequented the center.  Large enough so social distancing can be observed, the lot is now outfitted with large tents and serves a space that provides meals, medical checks, and a resting space for the homeless community. With the assistance of Duggan, a truck with showers and restrooms will also be available. [University of Detroit Mercy / Pope Francis Center]

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