Here is the latest Michigan news from The Associated Press at 3:40 a.m. EDT
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan has reported 111 new deaths from COVID-19, raising the state’s pandemic death toll to nearly 1,400 as its confirmed coronavirus cases approached 24,000. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, meanwhile, announced Saturday that 13 new or expanded COVID-19 drive-through testing sites would begin operating around the state under a plan to increase the state’s daily testing by about 40 percent. The state Department of Health and Human Services reports that the new deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, had brought the state’s death toll to 1,392. Michigan had another 1,210 confirmed coronavirus cases, boosting the state’s total to 23,993.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Lansing-area food bank has postponed opening 19 community gardens because of concerns that residents using them or sharing gardening tools could spread or contract the coronavirus. The Greater Lansing Food Bank mission for the Garden Project provides home and community gardens for low- and moderate-income residents. The organization says the allotments, which usually open in April or May, will remain closed until further notice. CEO Michelle Lantz told The Lansing State Journal that the nonprofit doesn’t want to encourage people to be out in a community setting in contact with one another. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month issued an executive stay-at-home order.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Do you want a front seat to democracy? The state of Michigan is looking for people to serve as workers in the May 5 local elections. Many older residents who have served in the past are staying home to avoid the risk of getting the coronavirus. The local elections will be conducted primarily by mail, but workers are needed to process and count ballots and staff clerk offices. All registered voters are eligible to serve as election workers. A website where people can fill out a form is at Michigan.gov/DemocracyMVP. The secretary of state will share the information with local clerks who need help.
DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 36-year-old western Michigan woman has been charged with murder and child abuse following the death of a toddler she was babysitting. Kellie Barthel was arraigned Friday in Montcalm County District Court. Nearly 2-year-old Vayda Vasquez was found unresponsive March 2 in a Douglass Township home, northeast of Grand Rapids. She had suffered multiple skull fractures and later was pronounced dead. Barthel was arrested Wednesday. The Associated Press was unable Friday night to determine if Barthel has an attorney.