Whitmer: Hospitals 'dangerously low' on employee protection

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks on April 6, 2020 (Courtesy: Whitmer's Office).
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A field hospital at Detroit's downtown convention center could gets its first COVID-19 patients this week, officials said Monday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Detroit-area hospitals are running "dangerously low" on personal protection equipment. She also reported an "incredible surge" in the number of unemployment claims and promised that people would get paid, despite computer woes and bureaucratic red tape.

"We will get to you," Whitmer said.

The governor gave an update on the coronavirus after the number of cases rose to 15,718 and 617 deaths over the weekend. Whitmer said she plans to extend a stay-at-home order, which limits people to essential trips outside their homes and shuts down most businesses.

"We are not out of the woods yet," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's medical executive. "Our hospitals continue to be overwhelmed, especially in southeast Michigan."

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

The federal government is creating a 1,000-bed hospital at TCF Center, formerly known as Cobo Center. Whitmer said the first patients could be there by Friday.

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