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Sunday, Sept. 20: Latest developments on coronavirus in Michigan

Michigan has reported 1,178 new coronavirus cases and 21 new deaths linked to COVID-19 this weekend.

Those new cases, reported Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19, brought the state’s number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 115,870 and number of deaths to 6,653.

In other coronavirus-related news, Friday night high school football is back in Michigan – but some schools had to cancel their opening night games due to positive COVID-19 cases found within team members.

Also, the novel coronavirus continues to surge at Michigan universities as health officials report more cases tied to the return of students to college campuses. But school outbreaks across the state did not stop Eastern Michigan University from welcoming students back to campus for in-person classes.

Here is the latest on how coronavirus is impacting people across the state:

Michigan reports 695 new coronavirus cases for Friday, Sept. 18

Michigan reported 695 new cases of coronavirus and six new deaths on Friday, Sept. 18.

As of Friday, there were 481 adult hospital in-patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, which includes 304 with confirmed COVID-19. There also were eight children in pediatric units with confirmed coronavirus and six with suspected COVID-19.

There are 90,216 people who have recovered from the coronavirus as of Sept. 18. Patients are considered recovered if they are alive 30 days after their COVID-19 diagnosis.

Michigan reports 483 new coronavirus cases Saturday, Sept. 19

On Saturday, state health officials reported 483 new cases of coronavirus and 15 new deaths. Of the 15 new deaths, 12 were identified during reviews of death certificate data, which is conducted three times a week.

There are also another 12,217 probable cases and 316 probable deaths, according the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The state’s seven-day average is 651 new cases a day, compared to an average of 758 a week ago. The seven-day average of deaths was nine deaths a day compared to an average of eight a week ago.

Of tests included in Saturday’s report, 1,047 – or 3.09% – of 33,909 came back positive for the virus. The state’s fatality rate is 5.7%, data shows.

Michigan pandemic death toll is thousands higher than official counts

It was six month ago this week that Michigan announced its first death from coronavirus. Since then, the state has tallied 6,632 confirmed deaths from coronavirus and another 320 probable deaths.

But the true death toll of the pandemic appears to be thousands of deaths higher, based on “excess death” numbers calculated by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

According to death certificates filed to date, Michigan had 56,301 deaths between March and August. That’s 9,117 more than the 47,184 expected deaths based on the 2017-19 averages for those months — a 19% increase in deaths. And that 9,117 number is expected to grow, since not all the death certificates for July and August have been filed yet.

Those 9,117 deaths are “excess deaths,” in the parlance of public-health officials, a measure of the true toll of the pandemic in Michigan.

Two Oakland county football teams cancel opening night football games due to coronavirus cases

While Friday night football returned for high schools across Michigan this weekend, a few teams were forced to sit out thanks to the coronavirus.

The Lake Orion and Detroit Country Day football programs announced the cancellation of their respective games Friday, Sept. 18, due to positive COVID-19 cases.

Lake Orion tweeted late on Thursday night it was canceling its opening game against rival Oxford because of a positive COVID-19 test.

Detroit Country Day also canceled its away game against Macomb L’Anse Creuse North scheduled for Friday night, according to L’Anse Creuse North Coach Pat Dailey.

In a quick scramble of plans, Oxford agreed to host L’Anse Creuse North on Friday night.

Portage Central cancels football game vs. East Lansing amid positive COVID-19 test

Portage Public Schools also announced Friday afternoon the cancellation of its season-opening football game against East Lansing due to a member of the Mustangs’ coaching staff testing positive for COVID-19.

The announcement came less than seven hours before Central was scheduled to host the Trojans to start a 2020 high school football campaign that was already shorted from nine regular-season games to six amid the coronavirus pandemic.

23 students at 10 University of Michigan buildings test positive for COVID-19, public health notices say

The University of Michigan posted 11 public health notices Friday alerting the public that 23 students who lived at or visited various buildings on campus have tested positive for COVID-19.

UM’s Department of Environment, Health and Safety was notified Sept. 17 that five residents living on the third and fourth floors of Markley Hall tested positive for COVID-19, according to a notice. There were also four cases on the first and third floors of West Quad, as well as four cases on the third, fifth and sixth floors of Alice Lloyd Residence Hall, the notices state.

The announcements came one day after the university identified a cluster in the South Quad residence hall. UM announced Thursday there were 19 confirmed positive cases, mostly on the building’s sixth and eighth floors.

UM’s Department of Environment, Health and Safety and the Washtenaw County Health Department have been monitoring the situation, which has been identified as a cluster, a university notice states.

WMU reports 72 new coronavirus cases; university now at 235 infections

Western Michigan University reported 72 new coronavirus cases this week, pushing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since Aug. 10 to 235, according to the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

The school’s health center reported 43 new cases Sept. 9-11, in addition to the 46 it reported last week. As of Wednesday, Sept. 16. there have been 235 confirmed coronavirus cases among WMU community members since students returned to campus in August.

The university has reiterated it has no plans to enact a campus-wide shutdown or send students home regardless of a spike in positive cases, a decision the university says takes into account the concerns of students whose classes require them to be in-person to remain on track to graduate.

Mandatory quarantine issued for 11 more houses near Michigan State

Eleven additional East Lansing houses are now required to quarantine for the next two weeks for known coronavirus exposure, the Ingham County Health Department announced Thursday.

This comes as the city, home to Michigan State University, has seen a 315% increase in total case count since Sept. 1, health officials said. A significant majority of Ingham County’s new positive cases of COVID-19 are related to the MSU community, officials said.

As of Thursday, 25 Greek life houses and 14 large rental houses are under the mandatory quarantine. Four Greek houses had their quarantines extended by three days because of new cases or exposures, according to a Sept. 17 news release.

“The current situation deeply concerns me for the MSU and East Lansing communities,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said in a statement.

“Beyond that, our inability to contain this extremely high level of transmission will adversely impact other communities, services and businesses in the county. Ingham County has the highest COVID-19 risk in the entire state of Michigan. We are truly in a crisis situation, especially in East Lansing. We must do all we can to contain the outbreak.”

Eastern Michigan University students move back into dorms after three-week delay

The coronavirus outbreaks at public universities around the state did not stop Eastern Michigan University from welcoming students back.

After more than three weeks of online classes to start the semester, EMU students moved into dorm rooms in preparation for some in-person classes to begin Sept. 21.

Move-in was originally supposed to take place Aug. 27, but due to concerns around COVID-19 outbreaks on other college campuses across the country, move-in was delayed to Sept. 17.

The Labor Day holiday weekend and its potential impact on community case numbers was also a factor, EMU President James Smith has said.

About 900 students had moved in by Friday afternoon, Smith said, and there will be around 2,100 total living in the dorms. In June, EMU announced that single rooms would be available for every student living on campus this fall in an effort to ease concerns about physical distancing and creating safe places due to COVID-19.

Absentee ballots delayed in mail must be counted, judge rules

A Michigan judge has ruled that absentee ballots that arrive late in the mail, if postmarked by the day before the November election, must be counted.

Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens issued the ruling Friday, Sept. 18, allowing ballots delivered up to two weeks after the election to be tallied.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic and documented mail delays make current the deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day an “impermissible restriction” for absentee ballots.

The ruling applies only to the 2020 general election.

Ypsilanti residents are impacted differently by pandemic based on race, study finds

Ypsilanti’s residents of color have faced higher rates of hardships during the coronavirus pandemic, a new study from Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan researchers states.

Black and Latino residents are more likely to have a loved one die from COVID-19, to have lost their job during the pandemic and to have difficulty with working from home or transitioning to virtual learning, according to the report.

The study was conducted by EMU’s Family Empowerment Program, the Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being at UM’s School of Social Work and the Washtenaw County Racial Equity Office. UM’s Poverty Solutions funded the study via a grant.

The results showed how Ypsilanti residents have responded to the pandemic and economic crisis, which disproportionally hit the city and township in the early months of the pandemic compared to the county at large. Thirty-five percent of Black respondents said they had a friend or family member die from COVID-19, compared to 9% of white respondents and 15% of Latino respondents, according to the study.

COVID-19 PREVENTION TIPS

In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus.

Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible.

Use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, countertops) and carry hand sanitizer with you when you go into places like stores.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also issued executive orders requiring people to wear face coverings over their mouth and nose while in public indoor and crowded outdoor spaces. See an explanation of what that means here.

Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

For more data on COVID-19 in Michigan, click here.


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