(AP) — Michigan desperately needs thousands of ventilators to treat victims of the coronavirus and more health care workers willing to pitch in during the crisis, state officials said Monday.
TCF Center in downtown Detroit soon will be turned into a 900-bed field hospital for COVID-19 patients who are not critically ill.
"There's a shortage of acute care physicians. But I'd say it's certainly nurses. We are definitely having a shortage of nurses to take care of COVID-19 patients right now," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's medical executive.
The number of coronavirus cases reported statewide reached 6,498 Monday, an 18% increase, while deaths rose to 184 from 132. Detroit has roughly 28% of the cases and deaths.
Michigan has 1,700 ventilators - critical equipment to help people breathe - but needs 5,000 to 10,000 more, Khaldun said.
"That's going to be a pressure point," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said when asked about people to operate them. "That's precisely why we've called out to people who have perhaps retired from the medical field to consider coming back. That's why we've made it easier for people to join the front lines."
Khaldun said health care workers in areas that are not hard hit could travel to hot spots in southeastern Michigan. Whitmer signed an order allowing hospitals to be flexible in how they use medical professionals.
"If anyone says there's one particular date where we know this is going to peak or we know how many people are going to get it, are going to die - it's just not true right now," said Khaldun, who projected a likely peak in cases in "several weeks."
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness including death.
Oakland County, which has more than 1,300 cases among residents, rolled out online maps that show the numbers by zip code.
County health officer Leigh-Anne Stafford cautioned it's not a complete local picture of the coronavirus because it's not known where someone was infected. The level of testing also varies among communities, which could affect the statistics.
"This week is going to be a very sad week in terms of numbers," county executive David Coulter predicted.
Whitmer suspended state hiring and vetoed $80 million in new spending in order to conserve money to fight the coronavirus. At the same time, she signed laws with $150 million for the state's response.
She said it's too early to specifically know how the economic slowdown will affect state revenue, but it's "going to be real and it's going to be felt in the budget."
"We know we've got to be really conservative right now," the governor said.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
See all of our Helping Each Other stories.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.