NEW: Trump Declares Major Disaster In Michigan Amid Pandemic

Mar 26, 2020

Physicians Assistant Jessica Hamilton, left, and Amena Beslic RN holds a swab and test tube kit to test people for COVID-19 at a drive-thru station set up in the parking lot of the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., Monday, March 16, 2020.
Credit AP Photo/Paul Sancya

UPDATE (Posted March 28 at 1:30pm):

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 The declaration provides additional money to address the outbreak as a top health official warned that the situation in Detroit will worsen.

The announcement by the White House follows a sometimes bitter back-and-forth between Trump and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan's Democratic governor has criticized the Trump administration for being slow to respond to the pandemic.

Whitmer had sought funds to set up field hospitals and help provide food and housing to people affected by the virus. 

NEW (Posted Afternoon of March 27):

New numbers released by the State of Michigan show that total deaths from COVID-19 are now at 92. That's a 53% increase in deaths in one day. (On Thursday, March 26th, deaths were at 60.) 

Total cases are up 28% in one day. Today there are 3,657 cases. That's up from 2,856 Thursday. 

Berrien County has 18 cases, Cass County has 1, Van Buren County has 3 and St. Joseph County still has none reported. 

Detroit has 1,000+ cases.

The global coronavirus pandemic has brought water shutoffs in Detroit and communities across the nation into sharp focus at a crucial time when officials are urging Americans to practice basic hand-washing techniques to stop the spread.

Water advocates and elected officials argue it’s impossible for families to follow the hygienic standards outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization when they don’t have water in their homes.

Members of Congress and national organizations are pushing for federal legislation and action to protect residents facing high water bills and shutoffs amid the crisis.

POSTED EARLIER (Morning of March 27):

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. surgeon general says the situation in Detroit, a national "hot spot" for cases of the new coronavirus, will worsen.

Three Detroit-area counties — Wayne, Oakland and Macomb — account for 84% of the nearly 3,000 people in Michigan confirmed to have COVID-19.

At least 60 have died, all but eight from the three-county region. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tells "CBS This Morning" that Detroit "will have a worse week next week."

His comments come as as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration implements a plan in which hospitals outside southeast Michigan accept patients from hospitals overwhelmed with virus patients. 


Berrien County officials have declared an emergency in the county due to the coronavirus.

Right now there are 11 cases in the county. Three of those people have recovered completely according to information provided by the Berrien Co. Health Dept. 

"We believe we are experiencing community spread," said a health department official. 

County officials say everyone should assume they could be exposed to COVID-19 any time they are in public. 

The latest numbers released by the State of Michigan indicated 2,856 cases and 60 deaths statewide.

Cass County now has its first case of COVID-19.


Today Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced she is asking President Trump to declare the state a major disaster. The declaration would provide Michigan with additional assistance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whitmer is also asking the public for donations of masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun with the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services says many hospitals are already "at or near capacity." She says the state is starting a "load balancing plan" where hospitals outside of Southeast Michigan (where the outbreak is the worst) would serve as relief hospitals to care for patients and provide supplies.

Whitmer again is pleading with Michigan residents to stay at home to corral the coronavirus.