Here is the latest Michigan news from The Associated Press at 11:40 a.m. EDT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she hopes to begin reopening parts of Michigan’s economy on May 1. Whitmer did not specifically identify which businesses may be allowed to open but said relaxing stay-home restrictions will come in phases. Her stay-at-home order, among the nation’s toughest in a state hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled to expire on April 30. Whitmer made her comments during a tele-town hall with the Detroit Regional Chamber on Friday. She said she plans to talk more about the issue next week. 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Seven Midwestern governors announced Thursday that they will coordinate on reopening their state economies, after similar pacts were made earlier this week in the Northeast and on the West Coast. Thursday’s announcement covers Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. The governors say they will work with experts and take a “fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protects families from the spread of COVID-19.” All together, the 17 states covered by the three pacts are home to nearly half of the country’s population.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Deaths in Michigan from COVID-19 now exceed 2,000. But major health care providers in southeastern Michigan are reporting significant reductions in the number of patients. Henry Ford Health System said it had 617 COVID-19 patients, the lowest number since April 1. Beaumont Health had 819 patients, down 19% from last week. Meanwhile, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would work with Midwestern states on a strategy to reopen their virus-stunted economies. Republicans said businesses in regions that aren’t virus hot spots should be allowed to reopen more quickly than businesses in other areas.

UNDATED (AP) — A growing number of protests are being staged across the U.S. to oppose stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic. In places like Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, small-government groups, supporters of President Donald Trump, anti-vaccine advocates and others have united behind a deep suspicion of efforts to shut down daily life to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As their frustration grows, they’ve started to openly defy the social distancing rules to put pressure on governors to ease them. Some of the protests have been small events, promoted via recently created Facebook groups. Others are backed by groups with ties to Trump.