2 more coronavirus deaths in Michigan; confirmed cases at 334

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UNDATED (WOOD) — Michigan on Thursday saw its second and third deaths linked to coronavirus as the state announced the number of confirmed cases had jumped to 334.

One of the patients who died was an 81-year-old at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Henry Ford Health System announced Thursday morning. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that another patient at McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, a woman in her 50s with preexisting health problems, also died.

On Wednesday, Beaumont Health said one of its coronavirus patients in Wayne County, a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions, had died.

TALLY OF RECORDED CASES MORE THAN QUADRUPLES

On Thursday afternoon, the state said the total number of confirmed cases as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday had increased more than fourfold to 334. As of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, the number was 80.

The jump was due, in part, to increased testing capacity. The state noted it was taking results from hospitals and labs other than its own.

“We knew there were additional people in Michigan with COVID-19 that had not yet been tested,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “This emphasizes the need to continue to practice social distancing and other community mitigation practices to help slow the spread of this disease.”

Of the 334 confirmed cases, the vast majority are in southeast Michigan. Macomb County has 55 confirmed cases, Oakland County has 105 and Wayne County (including the city of Detroit) has 119. Seven are in Kent County, one is in Montcalm County and one in Ottawa County. A handful are in mid-Michigan. None are in the Upper Peninsula. The locations of 10 of the cases have not been reported to the state.

Nearly 2,500 tests have been run statewide — 1,557 by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s lab, 744 by hospitals and 148 by commercial labs.

The state initially said Thursday that there were 336 cases; it later clarified that two of those cases had been removed from its official count. One in Genesee County was entered into the Michigan Disease Surveillance System after the daily numbers were collected and another in Isabella County was inconclusive and being sent to federal authorities for confirmation.

>>Case breakdown from state

COVID-19 SYMPTOMS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING

COVID-19 presents with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. For most who contract it, symptoms are mild. The people most at risk to develop severe complications are the elderly and those with preexisting health problems.

If you think you have coronavirus, call your health care provider. Unless you are in need of emergency help, do not go to the emergency room. Get advice from a doctor over the phone or a televisit and they will direct you on how to get tested.

Widespread social distancing initiatives are in effect across Michigan, including a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and the closure of bars, restaurant dining rooms and gyms. When in public, you shouldn’t shake hands or stand too close to others. The goal is to keep the number of severe cases small enough that hospitals can handle them.

You should also follow common-sense health practices, primarily washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, coughing into your arm or a tissue rather than your hands and avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands. And, of course, you should stay home when you’re sick.

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