Michigan stay-at-home order kicks in to quash virus

Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 8:36 AM EDT
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An employee at the Detroit Police Department has died from COVID-19, officials said Tuesday, as Michigan's stay-at-home order kicked in to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has barred employers from requiring workers to leave their homes unless necessary to protect life or conduct minimum basic operations. There are exceptions, especially grocery stores, banks, gas stations and businesses offering carry-out food.

In Petoskey, in northern Michigan, Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin said deputies will investigate complaints about people violating Whitmer's command but "there will not be any arrests.'' Other police agencies have offered similar messages.

At least 1,328 people have tested positive in Michigan for the coronavirus, and COVID-19 deaths have climbed to at least 15.

"This disease can't spread person to person if we're not out there,`` Whitmer said Monday in pleading with people to stay home.

Detroit police Chief James Craig said he would release some information Tuesday about an employee's death. Separately, 282 officers were off work awaiting test results or self-quarantining, although 152 were expected return by the end of the week. The department has about 2,200 officers, according to its website.

Oakland University in Oakland County, which has sent students home, has offered its dorms, arena and parking lots for makeshift medical purposes. The president, Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, who is a medical doctor, predicts local health care providers will become swamped.

A Lansing-area man showed gratitude at an Ingham County grocery store by twice dropping off $1,000 to be shared with employees.

"I think he just wanted to support people that are still working. He's pretty special,'' Jamie Robinson, owner of Darrell's Market & Hardware, told the Lansing State Journal.