In metro Detroit, coronavirus deaths spike overnight amid ventilator need

Oakland County registered another 30 deaths overnight, nearly doubling its death toll to 59 since it reported its first fatality from coronavirus on March 20. Nearby, Detroit reported that its death count has hit 50, up from 35 on Sunday.

It is the beginning of “the most challenging week yet” and one in which cases are only expected to rise even more, county executive Dave Coulter said during an afternoon news conference Monday.

“These are our neighbors. These are our family members… COVID-19 is not a respecter of age or race or income or nationality,” Coulter said.

Coulter reiterated the urgency for restocked supplies for hospitals that “will soon be overwhelmed.” Most immediately, he said, hospitals need some 200,000 N95 masks and 230 “critically needed ventilators.”

“We're getting close to a point where our hospitals are going to reach capacity, and we're going to have to be much more creative in what we do with those patients, and how we handle them,” he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing at least three sites as alternative care sites in Oakland County: Suburban Collection Showplace, Lawrence Tech University and Oakland University, Coulter said.

In announcing the deaths, the county also released more information on its public dashboard about testing, with a county map that highlights areas – broken down by zip code – with the highest numbers of positive test results. Southfield, Oak Park, Lathrup Village, and West Bloomfield and the southeast corner of the county have the highest number — 500 by midday Monday, of positive tests.

But COVID-19 cases are present throughout Oakland, Coulter warned. He and health officer Leigh-Anne Stafford stressed that the map shows only where infected people live rather than where they were infected, he and Stafford said.

“Don't panic if your community has a higher number, and don't let up if it doesn’t,” Coulter said, pleading with residents once again to shelter in place.

“We're going to still see numbers rise and so my fear is that people get dejected, they feel like it's not working, and they want to give up,” he said. 

“Social distancing and hygiene and other recommendations are more critical than ever,” he added.

The county continues to struggle to get ahead of positive cases that have surged to more than 1 in 5 of cases throughout the state.

Among deaths, patients statewide have been from 25 to 97 years old, and their average age is 64, according to state data by midday Monday.

In Oakland County, those who died ranged in age from 36 to 92 years old, Stafford said. Most had had underlying conditions, she told Bridge Magazine.

Spokesman Bill Mullan said hospitals have asked the county not to detail where the deaths have occured — a request the county is honoring, for now, he said.

“Where they live and where they died doesn’t tell you the story of underlying conditions or infections ... or the course of the disease,” he said.

Bridge staff writer Mike Wilkinson contributed to this report.


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Connie K.
Mon, 03/30/2020 - 7:38pm

Its strange that the same cities Oak Park, Southfield, Lathrup Village, had Measles outbreak last year starting around May-June, now these same cities have the most Covid-19 outbreak

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 6:46am

Good Observation Connie. In fact, if you look at all the data released yesterday 3/30, in the 3 Hot Counties of Michigan. The predominant number of Infections are in Black Communities.
Oakland - Southfield, Oak Park, Lathrup Village and southern West Bloomfield.
Macomb - Eastpointe, Roseville, parts of Clinton Township/Mt. Clemons. Surprising to see northern Warren and east Sterling Hts having hot spots.
Wayne - Detroit. Interesting that infections are generally across the whole city, but Southwest Detroit that has a large Hispanic community is generally the least infected.

Also, in Oakland, there has been 419 Hospitalizations to date. That is over 8 major Hospitals plus some smaller ones. That doesn't seem like a lot (yet).

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 9:08pm

Why dont you read the whole article. Its says ones that where passing already before the shutdown will advance and the ones who where not will have the opportunity to catch up! And the people suggesting that they have summer school unreal.. on top of this happening you want to take the kids summer away..aww poor people who has to spend more time with the kids they brought into this world. Take this time and spend with these kids..everyone complains that the school is not teaching them life skills..nows your chance to do just that. And the ones who say I gotta play teacher and work full time..grow up. Did we ask for this? Did the kids? No but its sacrifice we all have to make. I think my kids health is more important then worried about being stuck with my kids like most people you look at them and cry I have to spend time with my kids. Maybe you should have thought of that before having them..i love that I'm getting to spend time with my kids more.. I am still working despite this shut down. I'm a transportation manager that is supplying food to all these kids in my school district.

William R.
Tue, 03/31/2020 - 4:13am

So much anger,and you work around kids Not a good recipe

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 7:10am

He’s a manager and doesn’t need to see kids.

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 1:18am

Who gets paid for not working for a significant part of the year. Also, how much money are the schools saving by not being open. Where will the money go. Plus, schools just received federal money. Where will the already budgeted funds go when they aren't being paid out. What a great job, paid for a year and only have to work 40% of it. Looks like a 100% raise. Will parents be paid? Are teachers even relevant any more, one teacher can teach thousands online.

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 6:39am

Way to mislead with the title. Shame on you. Makes it sound like people died because there weren't enough ventilators. Not true.

Kelly Fray
Tue, 03/31/2020 - 11:26am

Will salaried school district employees be paid through the summer?

Tue, 04/07/2020 - 5:18am

Teachers don't get "paid for the summer", ever. They get their salary, which is based on just the school year, divided into 12 months instead as a courtesy. Hourly employees such as paraprofessionals don't get paid at all in the summer, which is why many take summer jobs.

Shawn Fisher
Thu, 04/02/2020 - 9:03am

If the Governor is to close schools, what happens to the adult education programs? Like G.E.D. programs? I have a child that has just one test to pass in order to get his G.E.D.. He has already paid for the test. He just needs to retake it to obtain his G.E.D.