2020 coronavirus pandemic in Michigan

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic in Michigan is part of the ongoing global viral pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which first appeared in the U.S. state of Michigan on March 10. As of March 27, at least 3,657 cases and 92 deaths have been confirmed.[2] Currently, 56 of Michigan's 83 counties have been impacted, located within both the Lower and Upper peninsulas. A majority of the cases are in Metro Detroit, specifically Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties, which all have over 400 cases each, and the latter of which accounts for nearly half the total number of cases and deaths in the state.[3] Thirteen of the cases are under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Corrections, while seven are residents from out of state seeking treatment in Michigan.[4][5]

2020 coronavirus pandemic in Michigan
COVID-19 Cases in MI as of March 27.png
Counties colored in red have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 as of March 27, 2020
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationMichigan, U.S.
Index caseWayne County, Oakland County
Arrival dateMarch 10, 2020
Confirmed cases3,657[1] [2]
Official website

The national coronavirus outbreak triggered a state of emergency response at the state level on March 10, followed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer announcing the closure of all K–12 school buildings until April 5.[6][7] On March 16, Governor Whitmer ordered bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other businesses to partially close for two weeks and later banned events and gatherings of more than 50 from March 17 – April 5.[8][9] She has also issued a pair of executive orders to prevent price gouging, one to halt tenant evictions, one to help curb the spread of the virus in medical facilities throughout the state, as well as one closing "non-essential personal care service" facilities such as nail and hair salons.[10][11][12][13][14] On March 24, a statewide stay-at-home order was issued, limiting all non-essential travel and discontinuing all non-essential business services and operations.[15]

Additionally, major colleges and universities within the state switched instruction to alternate remote learning formats and canceled large social events and gatherings.[16][17] The outbreak also caused many corporations and businesses to alter capacity and operations in order to adapt to the progression of cases, and many major collegiate and professional sports seasons were postponed or canceled.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

The state legislature approved $125 million to aid in relief efforts, and Governor Whitmer called in the Michigan Army National Guard to assist with supply distribution,[25][26] which subsequently fueled rumors of a potential shift to martial law within the state. Whitmer later dismissed this as false.[27]

Notable transmission clusters have been identified at singer Sandi Patty's March 8 concert at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, which has so far been linked to three subsequent cases in Berrien County, and within the Detroit Police Department, where nine members have tested positive for the virus, two have died, and a further 280 have been placed under quarantine.[28][29][30][31][32][33] Additionally, six other Detroit city employees have tested positive for the virus,[32] as have 18 Wayne County Sheriff's Office employees, with one death reported within the department.[34]


The state's first two confirmed cases were reported on March 10, one each in Wayne and Oakland counties.[7] On March 11, the University of Michigan announced classes would be moving online for the rest of the year and large gatherings would be canceled.[35] Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Lawrence Technological University, Macomb Community College, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University and Wayne State University also announced various extensions, postponements, and alterations to academic schedules and formats.[16]

On March 12, ten new presumptive-positive cases were announced, bringing the state's total to twelve cases.[36] In response to the increase in cases, Whitmer announced the statewide closure of all K-12 school buildings, effective March 16 and extending through April 5.[37]

Thirteen presumptive-positive cases were announced on March 13, bringing the state's total to 25.[38] In addition, the University of Michigan announced all final exams would take place using alternative formats and commencement ceremonies would be canceled.[35] On March 14, eight additional cases were reported, for a total of 33 cases.[39] On March 15, the number of cases rose to 53, with an additional case reported the following day.[40][41] On March 17, the number of cases rose to 65, after an additional 11 cases were confirmed.

On March 18, 15 cases were confirmed for an official total of 80.The state's first death was reported in Wayne County on that date, a Southgate man in his 50s with underlying health conditions.[42] Eaton County health officials also confirmed their first case, which was not included in the state's earlier total. Later in the day, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials disclosed knowledge of 30 more cases, whose locations were undisclosed at the time. Later on March 18, the state's total was estimated at 110 per several news sources, with one source reporting as many as 116.[5][43][44][45][46][42] Two more deaths reportedly occurred on March 18: an 81-year old in Detroit and a woman in her 50s with underlying health conditions in Pontiac.[47]

The official count was updated to 336 positive cases on March 19, which included private tests from the previous two weeks that had not been included in prior totals. One case each in Isabella and Genesee counties were later removed from the government tally due to errors in reporting, decreasing the total to 334.[48] 215 cases were confirmed on March 20 and 10 more were re-classified, for a state-wide total of 549. Additional cases in Ottawa and Barry counties were confirmed at the county-level. Genesee County also confirmed their first four positive cases, one of which was included in the earlier state total.[49] A fourth death, a man in Oakland County in his 50s with underlying health conditions, was reported on March 20.[50] The number of cases rose to 787 on March 21, with a fifth death reported, a person in Detroit.[51] Three more deaths were reported later that day, one each in Macomb, Oakland, and Kent counties, for a total of eight.[52]

The official state total rose to 1,035 on March 22, after 249 positive cases were confirmed. Washtenaw County health officials also announced their first death, an older man with underlying health conditions who died at Michigan Medicine Health System, bringing the statewide death toll to nine.[53] At least 293 cases and seven deaths were confirmed on March 23, not including the prior Washtenaw County death. The state had 1,328 positive cases, and sixteen total deaths.[54] On March 24, the state's total cases rose to 1,791 and the total deaths rose to 24, after 463 new cases and nine new deaths (including the Washtenaw County death) were confirmed.[55] On March 25, the totals rose to 2,295 cases and 43 deaths, with Wayne County accounting for nearly half of the positive cases and deaths in the state.[56]

March 26 saw 564 new cases and 17 new deaths confirmed, for a total of 2,856 and 60, respectively. Several cases were reclassified on that date, when the state of Michigan began reporting the Michigan Department of Corrections as its own jurisdiction.[3][4] On March 27, 801 more cases were reported for a total of 3,657, with 32 new deaths bring the total to 92 deaths.[2]

Notable casesEdit

Christian singer Sandi Patty tested positive for the virus on March 18, after having performed a concert at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan on March 8. Some individuals attended a VIP experience after the concert and had close contact with the singer. All of the VIP attendees were instructed to self-isolate and monitor symptoms through March 22.[29] Three subsequent cases in Berrien County have been linked to the concert.[30]

As of March 25, nine Detroit Police Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19, while 280 others have been placed in quarantine.[28][31][32] On March 24, one death was reported within the department, a 38-year-old civilian dispatcher.[31] A second death was reported on the same date, a commanding officer within the Department who died from complications with the virus.[33] Chief James Craig tested positive for the virus and is under quarantine.[57] As of March 25, six other Detroit city employees have contracted the virus, with numerous others placed under quarantine.[32] Eighteen Wayne County Sheriff's Office employees have also tested positive for the virus, with the department's first confirmed death on March 25, a 63-year old Commander and 30-year veteran of the department.[34] Detroit Pistons player Christian Wood has also been diagnosed with COVID-19.[58]

Government responseEdit

On February 3, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services activated its Community Health Emergency Coordination Center to manage the state government's response to coronavirus.[59] On February 28, the State Emergency Operations Center was activated by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to assist with coordination.[60] On March 3, the Governor created four COVID-19 Task Forces: State Operations, Health and Human Services, Education, and Economy/Workforce.[61] As of March 11, all campuses of the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Wayne State University, Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan University, and all community colleges, had various restrictions on students and faculty in response to the virus.[17][62][63]

On March 12, Governor Whitmer issued an order to have all K-12 schools closed beginning Monday, March 16.[6] On March 13, Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-05 which banned all gatherings of more than 250 people in addition to the closure of schools.[64] The ban made exceptions for residential facilities and child care services at schools in addition to exemptions for consumers buying groceries or products, for industrial and manufacturing work, and for public transport and other forms of mass transit.[65] The ban was lowered to 50 people on March 16 per a CDC recommendation and is effective from March 17 – April 5.[8] The order was later updated to exclude houses of worship from penalty if they convened more than 50 people.[66]

Additionally on March 13, the Michigan Department of Education was granted a federal waiver by the United States Department of Agriculture. The waiver allowed for students who will receive food from the Unanticipated School Closure SFSP to not be mandated to receive the food in a group setting.[67] The Michigan Department of Corrections banned visitors to prisons, along with prohibiting any volunteers from the prison. Staff at prisons will be required to have their temperature tested and be proven to be under 100.4 °F (38.0 °C) along with other measures.[68] The Michigan Career and Technical Institute suspended all programs until April 5.[69]

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued an order starting March 16 to limit all Michigan Secretary of State branch offices to appointment-only instead of walk-ins. The only services provided by the offices will be for those applying for new licenses and IDs, for title transfers, and for testing for a license. All branches will no longer be open on Saturdays, with most weekday hours expanding. For those renewing their licenses, the proof of car insurance requirement was waived. Also waived were late fees associated with the change.[70]

Members of the Michigan Army National Guard loading medical supplies

On March 10, Attorney General Dana Nessel set up a hotline to report businesses price gouging goods such as toilet paper, meat, milk, bread, bottled water, face masks, hand sanitizers, and cleaning supplies. Sellers face fines if their asking price is at least 20% higher than it was on March 9, after an executive order from Governor Whitmer banned the practice, until April 16. The order includes a clause that exempts retailers if they "can prove the increase is attributable to an increase in cost of bringing the product to market or an extraordinary discount was in effect as of March 9".[12] As of March 19, at least 800 complaints have been received.[71] On March 19, Nessel sent a cease and desist letter to Menards after her investigators found evidence of price hikes, sometimes doubling the retail cost, on high-demand bleach and 3M face masks. In other instances, tipsters reported seeing face masks that cost $10 each, cases of water for $35, and bottles of hand sanitizer for $60. Whitmer issued a second order on March 20 which "focuses enforcement resources on the cases most pertinent to the emergency by clarifying which price increases constitute price gouging."[13]

On March 17, the Michigan Legislature approved $125 million to fight the pandemic, with $50 million going towards the Department of Health and Human Services and another $40 million towards other state agencies for ongoing coronavirus response needs. Another $35 million was set in reserve in case more funding becomes necessary in the future.[25] On March 18, Governor Whitmer asked the Michigan Army National Guard to "assist the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with assembling and loading critical personal protective gear, such as gloves, gowns, and face shields."[26] In response to widespread rumors that were circulating regarding the National Guard's presence in the state, Whitmer reaffirmed on March 20 that there were no active plans to implement martial law, although she did indicate that state officials were monitoring the effectiveness of lock-down protocols in other states, should they become necessary.[27]

On March 20, Governor Whitmer signed an executive order banning landlords from filing eviction requests against tenants until April 17, which she says "relieves courts from certain statutory restrictions to enable them to stay eviction-related proceedings until after the COVID-19 emergency has passed".[10] Also on that date, Whitmer signed an executive order for medical and dental facilities to postpone any "non-essential" procedures, such as plastic surgery and teeth whitening, beginning March 20 through the time the State of Emergency is lifted.[11] On March 21, Whitmer issued an executive order to close facilities that provide non-essential personal care services such as hair and nail salons, tanning salons, spas, and businesses that offer massages, tattoos, body art, and piercings, until April 13.[14]

On March 22, Flint mayor Sheldon Neeley issued a shelter-in-place advisory for the city's citizens, after having previously declared a state of emergency for the city on March 12.[72] On March 23, Governor Whitmer issued a statewide stay-at-home order, starting the morning of Tuesday, March 24, and lasting for at least three weeks.[15] "Stay Home, Stay Safe", Executive Order 2020-21 directed all businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person services that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order directed residents to remain "in their homes unless they’re a part of an essential 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." When leaving the house, individuals must adhere to social distancing measures, as directed by the CDC.[15]


During the week of March 16, Michigan Medicine started in-house testing for COVID-19, with the capabilities to deliver same-day results. This allowed the hospital to bypass the state's testing system, which was previously the sole provider of testing for the virus. The same week, the health system also launched drive-thru testing services for Michigan Medicine patients at West Ann Arbor Health Center, Brighton Health Center, and Canton Health Center.[73]

Similarly, Beaumont Health and Henry Ford Health System in Metro Detroit have also developed in-house testing methods in an effort to increase overall testing capacity within the state.[73] On March 27, a regional drive-up testing center will open in Detroit, at the vacant State Fairgrounds site. A partnership between Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, the city of Detroit, and three regional health systems, the center will be able to test up to 400 residents a day, who are referred to the site from their doctor via scheduled appointments.[74] The state restructured reporting procedures and began incorporating private test results in official government case tallies on March 19.[48]

Economic impactEdit

On March 13, Delta Air Lines, which has a major hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, said it will cancel all flights to Europe for the next 30 days, decreasing flight amounts by 40% and grounding 300 planes.[22] Delta had previously indicated it would reduce international flights by 20–25% and domestic flights by 10–15%.[75] Starting on March 15, several grocery chains that have stores in Michigan, including Kroger, Meijer, and Walmart, began reducing their business hours for cleaning and restocking in response to the pandemic.[76][23][24] Michigan-based automotive manufacturers General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler announced plans to gradually shut down plants starting March 19 and lasting until the end of the month.[77] Domino's Pizza, which is centered in the state, anticipated hiring up to 10,000 people to help meet an increased demand for food delivery services due to the pandemic,[78] while Jet's Pizza also prepared to hire "hundreds" of additional delivery drivers for the same reason.[79] Similarly, Michigan-based Meijer is projected to hire 40-50 new seasonal employees per store to help meet public demand during the outbreak.[80] On March 20, Kroger announced that starting the morning of March 23, all of its Michigan stores will be dedicating the first hour of business on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to seniors, expectant mothers, first responders, and those with compromised immune systems.[81]

On the morning of March 16, Governor Whitmer announced a temporary order to close all bars and restaurants in the state to sit-down service, effective at 3pm the same evening until March 30. Carry-out and delivery options were excluded from the order, although restaurants were urged to limit in-building carry-out services to five customers at a time. The order also included fitness centers, theaters, casinos, and other venues that encourage large assemblages of patrons, with several exceptions, such as office buildings.[9][82] This order is expected to have significant economic impacts on businesses, and it prompted the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association to call for Whitmer to submit paperwork to qualify Michigan for the U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.[82] The order also expands unemployment benefits to public health workers who become ill, people who need to take time off to care for children, and others, until April 14.[83] On March 19, the Michigan Strategic Fund unanimously voted to approve a $20 million economic relief program meant to help struggling small businesses affected by the pandemic.[84]

Impact on sportsEdit

Most of the state's sports teams were affected. Several professional leagues began postponing or suspending their seasons starting March 12. Major League Baseball cancelled the remainder of spring training on that date and on March 16, they announced that the season would be postponed indefinitely, after the recommendations from the CDC to restrict events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, which affected Michigan's team, the Detroit Tigers.[18] Also on March 12, the National Basketball Association announced the season would be suspended for 30 days, which affected the Detroit Pistons.[20] On March 14, Detroit Pistons power forward Christian Wood reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.[58] In the National Hockey League, the season was suspended for an indefinite amount of time, which affected the Detroit Red Wings.[19]

In college sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association cancelled all winter and spring tournaments, most notably the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, which affected colleges and universities statewide.[21] On March 16, the National Junior College Athletic Association also canceled the remainder of the winter seasons as well as the spring seasons.[85]


COVID-19 cases in Michigan, United States  ()
     Deaths        Active cases
# of cases
2(+2) (n.a.)
2(+0) (+0%)
12(+10) (+500%)
25(+13) (+108.33%)
33(+8) (+32%)
53(+20) (+60.6%)
54(+1) (+5%)
65(+11) (+20.4%)
80(+15) (+23%)
334(+254) (+317.5%)
549(+215) (+64.3%)
787(+238) (+43.4%)
1035(+248) (+31.5%)
1328(+293) (+28.7%)
1791(+463) (+34.9%)
2295(+504) (+28.1%)
2856(+564) (+24.6%)
3657(+801) (+28.0%)
Cases: The number of cases confirmed in Michigan.
Sources: [86]
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases in Michigan[1]

Updated March 27, 2020

County Confirmed Cases Deaths
Allegan 1 0
Barry 1 0
Bay 4 0
Berrien 18 0
Calhoun 9 0
Cass 1 0
Charlevoix 4 0
Clare 1 0
Clinton 8 0
Crawford 1 0
Dickinson 1 0
Eaton 8 0
Emmet 3 0
Genesee 91 4
Gladwin 2 0
Gogebic 1 1
Grand Traverse 3 0
Gratiot 1 0
Hillsdale 6 0
Huron 1 0
Ingham 26 1
Ionia 2 0
Iosco 1 0
Isabella 4 0
Jackson 16 0
Kalamazoo 11 0
Kalkaska 4 0
Kent 45 1
Lapeer 4 0
Leelanau 1 0
Lenawee 8 0
Livingston 31 1
Macomb 404 14
Manistee 1 0
Marquette 1 0
Mecosta 1 1
Midland 8 0
Missaukee 1 0
Monroe 28 0
Montcalm 3 0
Muskegon 6 2
Newaygo 1 0
Oakland 824 26
Oceana 1 0
Ogemaw 1 0
Otsego 7 0
Ottawa 21 0
Roscommon 1 0
Saginaw 14 0
Sanilac 2 0
Shiawassee 2 0
St. Clair 15 0
Tuscola 2 1
Van Buren 3 0
Washtenaw 150 3
Wayne 1,810 37
Wexford 1 0
MDOC 23 0
Out-of-State* 8 0
Total 3,657 92
*Patients are not residents, but are being treated within the state of Michigan.


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  70. ^ Secretary Benson: Branch Operations Will Move to Appointment-Only for Three Weeks Michigan.gov
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External linksEdit