Michigan hits 1M+ COVID-19 cases, a timeline from March 2020 to now

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Monica Quintana

Registered Nurse Monica Quintana dons protective gear before entering a room at the William Beaumont hospital, April 21, 2021 in Royal Oak, Mich. Beaumont Health warned that its hospitals and staff had hit critical capacity levels. Michigan has become the current national hotspot for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations at a time when more than half the U.S. adult population has been vaccinated and other states have seen the virus diminish substantially. Beaumont Health warned that its hospitals and staff had hit critical capacity levels. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — In March 2020, Michiganders and Americans alike saw COVID-19 shut down the country. Just over a year and a half later, Michigan has exceeded one million cases.

The state reported 6,079 cases between Tuesday and Wednesday, putting the state at a total of 1,001,989 total confirmed cases.

Here is a timeline of how we got here:

February 2020

Feb. 3, 2020 – MDHHS activates Community Health Emergency Coordination Center

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center, and they have been working with local health departments to ensure screening and preparations for COVID-19 were being made.

Feb. 28, 2020 – Governor Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center

On Friday, Feb. 28, Governor Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center. Since then, the administration has been working with schools, businesses, medical providers, and local health departments to make sure they have the information they need to prepare for potential cases. Today, MDHHS also launched a campaign to raise awareness of appropriate hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.  

COVID-19 has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China. As of March 3, there were more than 91,313 cases globally, with over 3,000 deaths.

March 2020

March 3, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created four task forces to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Despite COVID-19 having been around since late 2019, COVID-19 first made its appearance in the Mitten State on March 10.

March 10, 2020 – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer confirms the first COVID-19 cases in the state

Michigan was the 38th state to announce positive COVID-19 cases in the country.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Oakland County Health Division and Wayne County Health Department confirmed the first two cases in the state.

The governor then declared a state of emergency to maximize efforts and assist local governments and officials to slow the spread of the virus.

One of the cases is an adult female from Oakland County with recent international travel and the other is an adult male from Wayne County with recent domestic travel. Clinical specimens were collected and sent to the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories where both tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. Specimens will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing.

At this point, the University of Michigan, Central Michigan State University, Michigan Tech and Michigan State University have moved classes online to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Some universities like Wayne state extended their spring break to try and address coronavirus concerns.

March 13, 2020 – Whitmer orders temporary prohibition on large assemblages and events

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signs Executive Order 2020-5, canceling all events over 250 people and all assemblages in shared spaces over 250 people.

The executive order took effect Friday, March 13 at 5:00 p.m. and ends on Sunday, April 5 at 5:00 p.m.

The governor’s executive order additionally closed all K-12 school buildings to students from Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5.

Certain assemblages were exempt from this prohibition, such as those for the purpose of industrial or manufacturing work, mass transit, or the purchase of groceries or consumer goods. 

March 23, 2020 – Gov. Whitmer orders “stay at home” order as COVID-19 spreads

To combat the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, Governor Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

For the following weeks, all Michigan businesses and operations were temporarily suspended in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. and all

Michiganders were required to stay in their homes unless they were a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.

May 2020

May 7, 2020 – Whitmer extends Stay Home-Stay Safe until May 28

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that auto and other manufacturing workers can return to the job next week, further easing her stay-at-home order while extending it through May 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

June 2020

June 1, 2020 – Whitmer lifts “Stay at Home” order, with some closings to stay

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has lifted Michigan’s coronavirus stay-at-home order.

The governor’s order allowed retailers to reopen on June 4 and restaurants to reopen on June 8, both subject to capacity limits.

“The data has shown that we are ready to carefully move our state into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan, but we owe it to our brave frontline heroes to get this right,” said Governor Whitmer.

July 2020

Many schools districts throughout the state announced plans to continue virtual learning through the fall, including Lansing School District.

August 2020

COVID-19 numbers remained low in Michigan in the month of August, but many were still on high alert.

The Lansing School District canceled all fall sports and many schools announced their return to school plans with virtual learning at least a part of the experience.

On Aug. 5, Governor Gretchen Whitmer called on all state universities to follow the lead of Michigan State University and keep students at home instead of returning to campus this fall.

August 28, 2020 – COVID-19 cases top 100,000 in Michigan

State health officials today reported more than 100,000 total cases of coronavirus in Michigan.

November 2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon announced a three-week pause on the number of indoor social gatherings and other group activities.

Bars and restaurants were open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only. Gyms remained open for individual workouts but group exercise classes were shut down. Casinos and movie theaters were closed.

Colleges and high schools had to transition to remote learning.

K-8 schools were allowed to continue with in-person learning.

December 2020

With FDA approval granted on Dec. 11, Pfizer began distributing the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine from its manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The vaccine was transported to the Capital Region International Airport (LAN) to be shipped by UPS around the country. As Michigan’s UPS hub, LAN said it’s prepared to quickly and effectively move not only the initial batch of the cargo, but continue to be a key pillar in the process of distributing the vaccine nationwide.

January 2021

January 4th, 2021 – Michigan tops 500,000 COVID-19 cases, Governor Whitmer reacts

Michigan recorded more than half a million cases of COVID-19.

State health officials say there are now 502,119 confirmed cases of the disease in the Great Lakes State. That’s about 5% of the population, or 1 out of every 20 Michiganders.

As of January 4, 12,000 people in Michigan had died related to the virus.

February 2021

Michigan school districts began shifting away from remote instruction toward offering some in-person instruction, with less than half as many districts providing remote-only instruction in February compared to January, according to a new report. 

February saw the largest increase (from 64% to 83%) in districts planning to offer some form of in-person instruction since the start of the 2020-21 academic year.

Governor Whitmer issued a goal that all schools offer in-person instruction as soon as possible and no later than March 1, 2021 is closely monitoring districts’ plans to ensure the safe opening of school buildings as soon as possible.

March 2021

One year ago, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the first cases of COVID-19 had arrived in Michigan. Two cases that would turn into hundreds of thousands.

“I don’t think any of us thought it would last this long,” said Lansing Mayor, Andy Schor.

And most of all, it was the beginning of healthcare workers physically and mentally, fighting this deadly virus.

“This was the most emotional thing we’ve ever been through. The most scientifically challenging thing we’ve ever seen,” said President of Sparrow Hospital, Alan R. Vierling.

But one year and three vaccines later, we’re slowly but surely getting back on the right track. And members of the community say they’re hopeful for a better year.

On March 24, a regional mass vaccination site opened at Detroit’s Ford Field to administer an additional 6,000 doses every day for two months.

April 2021

All Michigan residents age 16 and up became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 5.

People ages 16 to 49 with specific medical conditions or disabilities qualified in late March.

Two days later, March 24, a regional mass vaccination site will open at Detroit’s Ford Field to administer an additional 6,000 doses every day for two months.

June 2021

On June 22, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ended the orders on group gatherings, restoring Michigan to operating at full capacity.

The restriction changes come as more people get vaccinated and Michigan’s coronavirus metrics continue to show marked improvements. The state on Tuesday reported only 91 new cases and 15 additional related deaths.

“Because of the work of all of us, of people all across this state, we are now at the lowest case rate that we have seen since this pandemic started; under 18 cases per million people” per day, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said, also highlighting the positive test rate now comfortably below 2%.

The vaccine rollout inched along, with more than 61% of Michigan residents age 16 and up with at least one vaccine dose. Among the population age 12 and up, that figure is about 56%. While Whitmer said she was “pleased” with Michigan’s vaccination progress, she acknowledged there’s work to do: The state has set a goal to reach 70% of people 16 and up. She urged people who are hesitant to reach out to their family doctor with their questions.

Though demand for vaccines dropped off significantly, Khaldun said she believes the state can eventually reach its 70% goal.

July 2021

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announces the “Mi Shot to Win Sweepstakes” which gives Michiganders 18 and older who have at least one vaccine shot the chance to win a combined total of more than $5 million in cash.

Whitmer released the statement saying after they’re launching their sweepstakes after Ohio launched the country’s first  “Vax-a-Million” campaign. Ohio said vaccinations in the state increased 94% among 16- and 17- year-olds, 46% among 18- and 19-year-olds and 55% among those between 20 and 49 years old after Gov. Mike DeWine announced the lotteries. 

Those who are ages 12-17 with one vaccine shot had the chance to win one of nine $55,000 college scholarships. All of the incentives will be done via a lottery-style raffle.

Anyone who has already been vaccinated was eligible for the lottery.

Within a day of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement of the MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes, approximately 464,698 people had applied for the chance to win $5 million, with 23,978 students applying for the scholarship sweepstakes.

Whitmer’s goal with the sweepstakes was to increase the state’s vaccination rate by approximately 9%, or 667,000 Michigan residents- meeting the 70% statewide goal of residents aged 16 and up who are vaccinated.

MDHHS said as of July 1, 2021, 61.8% of Michigan residents aged 16 and up have gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

August 2021

Back to school season brought the question for multiple districts about mandating masks for students. While most mid-Michigan schools have required masks after an increase of COVID-19 cases.

September 2021

COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout mid-Michigan, with 18 schools and one transportation service having a cumulative total of 85 COVID-19 cases.

According to the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, Bath High School has the highest COVID-19 outbreak numbers with 11 cases among both students and staff.

MDHHS releases updated precautions that discuss things like quarantine versus isolation, when a student exposed to COVID-19 can stay in school and school testing opportunities.

As of today, Michigan has reported 1,001,989 cases of COVID-19, with 20,781 deaths.

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