Almost 30% of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths are in Detroit, U.S. death toll surpasses 9/11

By: - March 31, 2020 3:17 pm

Spirit of Detroit | Susan J. Demas

There are now 7,615 positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher. The state also reports that 259 people have died of the disease.

A statewide coronavirus hotline is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136. Information can be found on the DHHS website or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website.

This is an increase of 1,117 cases and 75 deaths in Michigan since Monday — the biggest one-day jump reported. The virus has now spread to about 80% of Michigan’s counties.

Michigan has more cases than any other state besides New York, California and New Jersey.

Wayne and Oakland counties continue to top the charts in both the number of cases and recorded deaths from COVID-19, with the city of Detroit being hit particularly hard by the virus. All of Wayne County, including Detroit, now has at least 3,735 cases and 120 deaths. Oakland County has 1,591 cases and 70 deaths.

Macomb County numbers are in the 800 range, followed by Washtenaw with just over 300 cases. Genesee and Kent counties now both clock over 100 cases each.

Detroit, which is Michigan’s only city with its own health department, reported an increase of 279 cases Tuesday, for a total of 2,080 in the city alone. The addition of 23 deaths in one day brings that total up to 75 in Detroit.

A number of those deaths have been individuals connected with the Detroit school district. On Sunday, well-known Mumford High School basketball coach Dwight Jones died from COVID-19 complications. On Monday, two staff members and three parents of students in the school district reportedly died from the disease as well.

Detroit has quickly become a hotspot for the outbreak in Michigan, and experts say the trajectory of cases has become steeper than New York’s. Upon a recommendation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Sunday that Detroit’s TCF Center will be transformed into a massive field hospital to alleviate overcrowding from nearby hospitals.

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that more field hospitals beyond the TCF Center may be necessary.

“If everybody would just stay home, we would not need these additional hospitals,” Duggan said.

There have also been 93 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported from Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) facilities, including some in the U.P. The ages of people dying from the disease range from 25 to 107.

The new state-reported numbers only recently began incorporating data from other commercial and private labs and hospitals around Michigan, which caused an apparent spike in numbers that speaks more to the number of cases just now being publicly reported.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

The World Health Organization reports that there are at least 754,948 confirmed cases worldwide and 36,571 deaths. In the United States, the New York Times reports at least 173,741 confirmed cases and 3,433 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon.

The death toll in the United States now exceeds that of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).