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Frontline worker who battled virus urges Michiganders to take safety precautions seriously

State sees 4th straight increase in virus cases since May
Posted at 4:29 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 18:03:16-04

(WXYZ) — For the fourth day in row, coronavirus cases are on the rise in Michigan. The state reported 353 new cases on Thursday, along with 18 new deaths.

RELATED: Popular bars, wineries in Grand Traverse County among possible COVID-19 exposure sites

It’s the largest rise since the end of May, and Michigan is seeing an increase in younger people getting sick.

“I just pray that nobody else goes through this, ever,” said Monica Payne.

Payne is a frontline health care worker who got COVID-19 back in March, and says she spent more than nine days on a ventilator.

“I remember saying let me call my family, and I didn’t get a chance to call my family," Payne said. "The next thing I knew I was out."

The mother from Southfield says she barely survived the ordeal and wants everyone to know – you must take the coronavirus seriously.

“I’m just glad that I’m getting better and telling people to stay in, and stay safe, and social distancing is so important,” Payne said.

Places like Ingham County and Grand Traverse County have seen jumps in cases after people who were ill attended bars and wineries. In Branch County, cases have jumped at farm facilities. And COVID-19 positive cases have also spiked in Bay County, following the devastating dam breaks and flooding in Midland.

“We’ve seen some cases among some out-of-state contractors that came in to assist with the floods in Midland, doing some restoration work. So they were staying in Bay County,” said Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Sutfin also said the state is watching these numbers very closely.

“It is a jump, definitely something we would monitor," Sutfin said. "A one day increase doesn’t necessarily have a great deal of worry to it, but you do want to make sure you’re paying attention, you’re monitoring, and making sure you’re reminding people of what they need to do."

According to FEMA, Michigan is also among four states showing that a majority of their COVID-19 patients are between 20 and 30 years old.

“Definitely recently we’ve seen an increase in that,” Sutfin said. “But quite frankly it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can get COVID-19.”

Sutfin says all Michiganders must stay vigilant, especially with the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner.

“We’re not saying you can’t go out, but if you do, wear a mask, practice social distancing wash your hands often, soap and water preferably,” Sutfin said. “Make sure that if you’re not feeling well, you’re not out and about, you’re staying home. Because we want to make sure people are aware that we’re not done with Covid-19. It’s still here, it’s still spreading across the country, and we just want people to remain vigilant. Be smart about being out.”

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