Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


Officials: Detroit approaching 4,000 COVID-19 cases

DETROIT (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Detroit is nearing 4,000, with 129 deaths. Figures released Saturday by the city’s health department show positive cases rose by nearly 400 from Friday. State health officials reported Saturday that 14,225 cases have been confirmed, with 540 people dead. Most of the confirmed cases continue to be in the Detroit area, with about 80% in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. State Corrections officials also say a 55-year-old man is the first prisoner to die from complications due to the virus. Joe Kearney was found unresponsive in his cell Wednesday. He later died at a hospital.


Lives Lost: Detroit woman, mother of 4, loved ballroom dance

DETROIT (AP) — Laneeka Barksdale, who died at 47 from coronavirus, was the mother of four children, including a 7-year-old. Family remembered her as a free spirit who was selfless, to the point that she didn’t want her sister to drive her to the hospital because of exposure risk. With long, flowing hair and a smile that could light up a room, friends called Laneeka “the queen” of Detroit-style ballroom dancing, which is a soulful dance popular in the African American community. 


Western Michigan boy struck, killed by pickup truck

Bridgeton Township, Mich. (AP) — A 10-year-old western Michigan boy has been struck and killed by a pickup truck. WOOD-TV reports Saturday that the child was hit about 7:30 p.m. Friday in Newaygo County’s Bridgeton Township, north of Grand Rapids. He later was pronounced dead at a hospital. Sheriff’s deputies say the 20-year-old pickup driver was grading a driveway when the boy was struck.


Campaign asks groups, individuals to pledge to stay at home

DETROIT (AP) — Some small business owners and grassroots organizers in Michigan are hoping to encourage people to stay at home for at least 15 consecutive days to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The #ShutItDown! Stop the Spread campaign was started Thursday and hopes to get at least 25,000 people to sign an online pledge. As of Friday, about 12,700 people in Michigan had tested positive for the disease and 479 people had died. Campaign manager and Detroit small business owner Darci McConnell says organizations and individuals are asked to educate family and friends, use phone banks and social media to reach out to their memberships, teach people what it means to stay inside and host video chats to educate others.


A mounting casualty of coronavirus crisis: Health care jobs

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Tens of thousands of U.S. medical workers are suddenly out of work as casualties of measures to prioritize coronavirus patients at hospitals and of the economic troubles the crisis is creating. Hospitals are plucking professionals from the industry to treat the burgeoning numbers of people with COVID-19, but others are being left behind. Many nurse anesthetists in Pennsylvania have been laid off, though they are particularly critical to the coronavirus response. Big-city specialist groups, tiny hospitals and big multistate systems are seeing big revenue dropoffs. Minnesota reported that over 13,600 practitioners or technicians filed unemployment claims in the last half of March.


No home detention for man worried about virus in prison

DETROIT (AP) — The federal government says it’s not willing yet to release a Detroit-area man who fears he could catch the coronavirus while serving a prison sentence for health care fraud. U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow said Rajesh Doshi isn’t a threat to the public. He recommended that Doshi serve the balance of his sentence in home confinement. Doshi’s lawyer argues that the 64-year-old would be at “grave risk” for death if he gets the virus because of other health conditions. A new law gives the government more flexibility in releasing certain prisoners.


Michigan’s record-high water levels collide with coronavirus

DETROIT (AP) — Officials in Michigan are warning that efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic could have a serious impact on relief and repairs during what is expected to be another tumultuous spring flooding season. The Detroit Free Press reports that high water levels are expected to cause severe flooding, shoreline erosion, and road and infrastructure damage this spring. Providing shelter to those displaced by floods could be challenging when social distancing is advised. And some state agencies could find themselves unable to provide the usual level of assistance because they are financially stretched due to the coronavirus crisis.


Asian Americans use social media to mobilize against attacks

Asian Americans are using social media to organize and fight back against racially motivated attacks during the coronavirus pandemic. A string of racist run-ins in the last two weeks has given rise to hashtags and online forums to report hate. FBI predicts attacks will increase as infections grow. Critics say President Donald Trump made things worse by calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.” He later said Asian Americans shouldn’t be blamed. For a group with a history of being scapegoated, there’s urgency to drown out both bigotry and apathy. Advocacy groups set up a hate reporting center that’s received more than 1,000 reports from across the U.S.


Gov. Whitmer: Michigan schools closed for academic year

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says K-12 school buildings will not reopen to students for the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Public and private schools have already been shut down for nearly three weeks. Under Whitmer’s order Thursday, face-to-face instruction won’t resume this spring for more than 1.5 million children. Districts must create distance learning programs. Options include online classes, phone lessons or printed materials sent to homes. Seniors will graduate and other students will advance to the next grade, as long as they were on track to do so before the shutdown.


Detroit bus driver dies; posted video about coughing rider

DETROIT (AP) — Officials say a Detroit bus driver who had expressed anger on Facebook about a coughing passenger has died. Fifty-year-old Jason Hargrove felt ill about four days after posting a passionate video on social media on March 21. Glenn Tolbert of the bus drivers union says Hargrove died Wednesday. In his Facebook video, Hargrove was frustrated over a woman’s repeated coughs on his bus. He said “some folks don’t care.” Hargrove said bus drivers are just “trying to make a honest living.” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says everyone in America should watch the video.