Michigan’s Timeline of COVID-19 Response

YAN – Simon Albaugh – Detroit

A few days ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the end of the in-person school year for Michigan. Most school districts around Metro Detroit were already prepared, having processes for remote learning already in place. Still, the message was a demoralizing one for teachers and students hoping for things to get back to normal sometime soon.

It took less than a month for the state to go from its first confirmed case on Mar. 10, to the end of the schoolyear on Apr. 2. The spread of the Novel Coronavirus has been fast as hospitals struggled to prepare, businesses closed their doors and schools moved to online learning.

In multiple interviews, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading Infectious Disease expert has talked about his fears of respiratory illnesses because of the ease of spread. COVID-19 is an illness that has the capacity to spread at exponential rates. Many reports have shown that in many communities, the number of cases has the capacity to double over just a few days.

This is a fast-moving disease that has a lot of events happening at the same time. So we’ve prepared a timeline of some of the most essential events that have happened over the past month in Michigan to hopefully clarify how we went from the first cases on Mar. 10, to over 10,000 cases and the abrupt halt to many aspects of normal life.

  • 10: At around 10:00pm, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announces that the state has discovered two confirmed cases of COVID-19. The patients were both middle-aged. One was in Wayne County and the other in Oakland County. Gov. Whitmer also declares a state of Emergency as a result of the confirmed cases. (Cases: 2)


  • 11: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the Novel Coronavirus a Pandemic and urges every country in the world to work to contain the virus. School Districts around Metro Detroit, beginning with Hamtramck Public Schools, close out of caution for the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Universities also move to online after Michigan State University discovers a campus community member may be ill from COVID-19 (Cases: 2)


  • 12: The US Stock Market crashes after the greatest drop in percentage since 1987. President Donald Trump injects $1.5 Trillion into the Stock Market that eventually is criticized for having an underwhelming effect. (Cases: 12)


  • 13: By this day, most schools, universities, and offices in Michigan were closed down. All non-factory workers in the larger Automotive Companies were ordered to work from home. Other companies also begin the move to working from home. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announces her first executive order after declaring a State of Emergency that would restrict visitation in Hospitals. (Cases: 25)


  • 16: Gov. Whitmer orders the closure of all Bars, Restaurants, and Cafes, along with the ban of any gatherings of 50 or more. Unemployment claims begin to rise from service workers whose jobs were affected by the bans. (Cases: 54)


  • 21: Gov. Whitmer orders the closure of other businesses, like hair salons, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The US-Canada Border Crossings begin to slow down as restrictions to essential traffic are applied. (Cases: 787).


  • 22: Michigan crosses the 1,000 case mark. This is partly because of the increased rate of testing in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties, where the most cases have been concentrated throughout the month. ( Cases: 1,035)


  • 27: Detroit Police Department Chief James Craig tests positive for COVID-19. At this point, more than 400 workers within the department are under quarantine after being in close contact with confirmed cases. Many see this as a strain to the department that will continue for the duration of the Coronavirus Pandemic. (Cases: 3,657)


  • 28: Detroit is designated as a hotspot for the COVID-19 illness, spurring President Donald Trump to approve Gov. Whitmer’s request for emergency assistance through FEMA. (Cases: 4,650)


  • 29: Detroit’s State Representative Isaac Robinson dies from a suspected COVID-19 Infection after experiencing similar symptoms over the past few days. In the coming days, the story of his life is published extensively in both local and national news outlets. The TCF Center (formerly COBO Hall) begins plans to be outfitted for the treatment of COVID-19 Patients as Hospitals begin to exhaust space. (Cases: 5, 488)


  • 31: Ford Motor Company announces it will delay production in North America indefinitely after manufacturing becomes a major industry that’s conducive to the spread of Coronavirus. Many of the major automakers have already made plans for manufacturing treatment equipment like masks or ventilators. (Cases: 7,615)


  • 2: The Number of total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world passes 1 million. In Michigan, the number of cases passes 10,000. Many of the major hospitals in the region like Henry Ford Hospital in Macomb have already reported being at capacity. Governor Gretchen Whitmer ends the in-person schoolyear and demands that every school district develop a plan for education. (Cases: 10,791)