Wednesday Covid updates: State deaths near 1,000 | Auto workers among victims | ICE sued over detentions

April 08, 2020, 3:37 PM

The days grow grimmer. Social media feeds are filled with condolences, refrigerated trucks sit outside the county morgue in Detroit, waiting to capture a glut of bodies, and the worst is still to come.

Michigan health officials say 114 more residents died from the pandemic since Tuesday's report. That pushes the total to 959 since the first three deaths were announced three Wednesdays ago. 

Overall, 20,346 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in this state, including an unknown number who've recovered.

(Graphic: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

There's also a sign of a possible plateau or turnaround:

  • Diagnosed cases rose by 1,376 in the past 24 hours, the lowest single-day increase since Friday, when nearly 2,000 new cases were added.

  • The latest daily increase is 7.2%, compared to double-digit rates each day last week (including a 22% rise last Wednesday).

At the White House on Tuesday, coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Brix cited Detroit and Chicago figures when she said: "You're starting to see that we may be actually ... creating a much flatter graph, a much flatter curve. It really gives us great heart."

Detroit's cumulative caseload is 5,824 and its death toll reaches 251. Oakland County fatalities are close behind at 234, followed by suburban Wayne Ciountrty at 195.

Remembrances: We memorialize city residents lost.

The three metro counties, including Macomb, account for 85.6% of Michigan deaths from the disease.

Not everyone counted as diagnosed is in intensive care or even still affected. The rolling tally since the third week of March doesn’t reflect recovered and discharged patients.

Wednesday’s overall tally includes 16,259 patients from Detroit and its surrounding three counties (80% of the total). 

Here are confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths locally:

  • Oakland: 4,007 cases | 234 deaths

  • Wayne: 3,802 cases | 195 deaths

  • Macomb: 2,626 cases | 141 deaths

UAW death toll up to 18

Detroit's automakers waited to shut down as coronavirus began to spread in the U.S. Now, at least 18 workers across the country are dead, with the bulk of deaths concentrated in southeastern Michigan. 

The Free Press provides a list of those killed: 

  • Three FCA workers from Sterling Heights Assembly Plant
  • An FCA worker from the Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana
  • Two FCA workers from Warren Truck
  • An FCA worker from FCA Transport in Sterling Heights
  • Two FCA workers from MOPAR parts distribution center in Center Line
  • An FCA non-union employee based at the Warren Tech Center, working at the Auburn Hills headquarters
  • An FCA worker from the Warren Stamping Plant
  • A Ford worker in skilled trades from the Ford Data Center in Dearborn
  • A Ford worker from Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant in Dearborn
  • A Ford worker from Dearborn Stamping
  • A Ford worker from Michigan Assembly in Wayne
  • Two Ford workers from the Livonia Transmission Plant
  • A Ford worker from the Chicago Assembly Plant

Ford, GM, and FCA resisted UAW calls to halt operations even as cases began being reported in their facilities. Ford initially said it wouldn't close a factory until it had at least three coronavirus cases.

ACLU sues over ICE detainments

The America Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and a number of other organizations are suing the federal government over immigrant detentions in "crowded" jail facilities in Calhoun, Monroe and St. Clair Counties.

The ACLU has filed two petitions in the past week arguing that the continued detention of medically vulnerable immigrants violates their right to due process

"Because there is no vaccine, cure, or effective treatment for COVID-19, the only known way to protect against serious illness or death caused by the novel coronavirus is social distancing coupled with strict hygiene, both of which are virtually impossible in a detention setting. For those reasons, correctional public health experts recommend the immediate release of those who are vulnerable to suffering the most acutely from COVID-19, as well as drastic reductions in the number of people detained."

Whitmer silent on prisoner releases

Calls for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to release elderly and medically vulnerable prisoners continue. Ten days ago Whitmer told reporters she was considering using her emergency powers to order releases, saying: "We're looking at our (prison) population ... with an eye toward the possibility of that."

The governor's office and Michigan Department of Correction would not provide a detailed status update this week, as the count of inmates infected approaches 300, and with two corrections officers and two prisoners dead. MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz said release talks are ongoing:

"The department is having regular and often daily conversations with the Governor’s office about the prisoner population, the parole/probation population, and the parole process as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are considering all options to ensure the safety of our staff and the offenders under our supervision."

Sgt. John Ashley of the Oakland County Sheriff Office. (Photo: Twitter)

Screening with a grin at Oakland Jail

Employees start their shift with a grin at the Oakland County Jail, where every deputy and support staffer gets a touchless thermometer check upon arrival. Sgt. John Ashley greeted daytime colleagues them this way Tuesday, as Sheriff Mike Bouchard shows on Twitter. "Thank you for bringing some humor and levity," he posts.

Kroger limits enrty when jammed

(Photo: The Kroger Co.)

You may have to wait outside before Krogering at buysy times. The chain now limits the number of shoppers to half of each store's building code capacity "to allow for proper physical distancing," it says.

The supermarkets will use "QueVision technology, which already provides a count of the customers entering and exiting stores." Some sites also are "testing one-way aisles in select markets to determine their effectiveness as a measure to further support physical distancing."

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Photo Of The Day 

Potd_img_5632_557 Police in riot gear last night at the protest in downtown Detroit.

By: Jack Thomas