Where are the Deer at in Southeastern Michigan?

There are about 2 million deer in the State of Michigan and they are most active in the spring and fall at dusk and dawn. Such activity, especially in areas more heavily populated by deer and vehicles, can be attributed to thousands of deer-vehicle crashes a year. According to Michigan Traffic Facts, in Southeastern Michigan in 2019 Oakland County had the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes at 1,836. It is estimated by data3 from ArcGIS that Oakland County has a deer population of about 13,000, or 15 deer per square mile. Regionally, Livingston County has the highest deer population at about 25,400, or 45 deer per square mile. According to the data, there were 905 deer-vehicle crashes in Livingston County in 2019. Wayne County reported the fewest number of crashes in 2019 at 499; Wayne County’s deer population is estimated to be about 9,200 per square mile.

Washtenaw County data is forth coming.

While the size of a deer population plays a role in the number of deer-vehicle crashes in a county, so does the amount of traffic and how their living environment has been impacted. The Average Annual Daily Traffic map from the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments shows that Livingston County has far less daily traffic than Oakland County. So, while Livingston County may have a higher deer population than Oakland County, the amount of traffic clearly plays a role. Also, according to the Michigan State Police, 80 percent of deer-vehicle crashes occur on two-lane roads.

As areas further develop, deer and humans are also interacting more, particularly as deer become more comfortable with their new neighbors. Backyard gardens, bird feeders and other items the deer prefer to munch on also bring them more in contact with humans, and the areas they live in—including their roadways–as they look for easily accessible areas to eat.

Deer-vehicle crashes may not be entirely avoidable but there are solutions to at least curb them. Such ways to avoid crashes with a deer include:

  • Watching the sides of the road as you drive, particularly in low visibility or tall grasses and woods near the road;
  • Being aware for groups of deer. If one deer crosses the road there is a good chance more may cross as they tend to travel in groups;
  • Using high beams at night (when possible) to help see farther ahead and to identify the eye-shine of a deer;
  • Avoiding swerving around a deer, instead break firmly and honk the horn;
  • Slowing down.

Government entities can also help curb the amount of deer-vehicle crashes by:

  • Enforcing speed limits;
  • Installing fences 8 feet or higher in high deer traffic areas to keep them off the road;
  • Studies to identify frequently used pathways of deer and setting up warning signs for drivers.
  • Installing specific devices that warn deer of oncoming traffic to scare them away from the road.

Oakland County’s COVID Numbers Surpass Wayne County

Michigan reported 5,772 new COVID cases on Nov. 18, 2020, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 277,806. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of confirmed COVID cases on Nov. 16 was 264,884–a five-day rolling average. The five-day rolling average for the total number of COVID cases (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing and/or the quality of reporting or failure to report. This chart also shows that the curve continues to increase at a much higher rate than previously.

Chart 2 shows that on Nov. 16, according to the five-day rolling average, Oakland County reported the highest number of confirmed COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan at 32,190; Oakland County surpassed Wayne County as having the highest number of confirmed cases on Nov. 11. Wayne County reported the second highest number of cases on Nov. 16 at 31,527. Macomb County reported 28,088 COVID cases on Nov. 16 and Detroit reported 17,893.

As shown in Chart 3, new daily numbers continue to spike above early daily highs, although there has been a decrease in the last few days. Wayne County reported the highest number of new daily confirmed cases on Nov. 16 at 93, followed by Macomb County with 92 new confirmed cases and Oakland County with 91. Detroit reported 43 new daily confirmed COVID cases on Nov. 16. These numbers are also based on a five-day rolling average.

The daily data highlighted in these posts is from Michigan.gov/coronavirus, where data is updated daily at 3 p.m. Historical data were supplied from covidtracking.com, which republishes COVID data from the State. Additionally, the case totals do not reflect the number of people who have recovered, just those who have been infected. In early June the State changed how it reports its data on the website, making data more accurate in the long-term but more complicated to track as well. The State regularly updates older data and as we continue to publish regular updates on COVID the State’s changes to past data many not always be reflected in our posts. The data published in new posts is accurate for the day we received it on though.

The chart below (Chart 4) shows that Macomb County has the highest number of COVID confirmed cases per capita. According to the data released on Nov. 18, Macomb County had 33,506 COVID cases per million people. Wayne County had the second highest number of confirmed cases per million people at 31,496. Detroit had 12,068 confirmed COVID cases per million people; no other counties in the region had fewer number of cases per capita.

In Chart 5, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan reached 8,078 on Nov. 16. The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on Nov. 18 was 8,190, an increase of 62 deaths from the prior day. Chart 6 (a five-day rolling average) shows that on Nov. 16, the City of Detroit reported 1,565 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,389 deaths on Nov. 16. Death related numbers overall remain flat, however hospitalizations are rapidly increasing according to Bureau of Epidemiology at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Sarah Lyon-Callo.

Yesterday (Nov. 18) marked the beginning of a three week pause on certain operations such as indoor dining, high school and college in-person learning and recreational activities such as movie theater going and indoor skating. This pause is meant to slow the spread of the virus in Michigan, which has been particularly rampant the last several weeks. Currently,  Michigan has sixth highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the fifth highest number of deaths.  A pause will not suffice in slowing the spread though; continued diligence in wearing a mask, washing hands, keeping a distance from others and not participating in group activities it what is truly needed to bring new daily case numbers back down.

COVID Continues to Impact Michigan Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the national, statewide and local economy. This will most certainly continue as new daily case numbers continue to rise. On Nov. 9, 2020 the State of Michigan reported 216,804 confirmed COVID cases, between Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services estimated that was an average of 4,505 new COVID cases a day. Although Gov. Gretchen Whitmer does not have the executive powers she once did, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies, have the ability to institute certain mandates. Currently, several—but certainly not all — businesses remain open, but scrutiny on safety precautions to slow the spread is increasing.

Current unemployment rates are discussed in this post to show one facet of the economic impact the pandemic has had on the economy. In future posts we will continue to dig into the other economic impacts of the virus, and also how local governments have fared with federal and state aide.

In September of 2020 the unemployment rates for the State of Michigan and for the City of Detroit declined from recent record highs as a result of COVID-19. However, unemployment rates remain higher now than at this time last year. The State of Michigan reported an unemployment rate of 8.2 in September, a lower rate than what was reported in August, which was 8.9. The State unemployment rate for September of 2019 was 3.5. In September of 2008, when the Great Recession was just getting underway, the unemployment rate was 8.4 percent.

For the City of Detroit, the unemployment rate for September of 2020 was 20.4, which is only slightly lower than the August rate of 20.9. In September of 2019 the unemployment rate was 8.1.

The data above shows a story that we are all familiar with now, the pandemic has had a direct affect on our economy locally and statewide. Another image the data highlights though is that the unemployment gap between the State and Detroit has grown wider since the pandemic hit. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was recently quoted in the Detroit Free Press saying women, minorities and low-income workers are suffering the most in this downturn. Detroit is home to the largest black population in the state and also has among the highest percentage of residents who live at or below the poverty level.

The chart below displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for September of 2019 and 2020. In September of 2020 Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate at 12.5. Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate at 5. Each county though had a higher unemployment rate in September of this year compared to September of 2019. Just as Wayne County had the highest unemployment rate it also had the largest increase between 2019 and 2020; in that year it increased 7.1 points. Washtenaw County had the lowest increase at 1.7 points.

In addition to COVID impact employment rates, it has also impacted the housing stock and sale and rental rates. According to a recent Detroit Free Press article, housing prices continue to increase due a high demand but low stock of homes, low mortgage rates and also the fact that the early shutdown of the economy pushed the spring home selling season farther out into summer and now fall.

The chart below shows the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled. While it does show an increase in average home prices, it has yet to reflect those of late summer and early fall.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $132,460 in July of 2020; this was $131 higher than the average family dwelling price in June. The July 2020 price was an increase of $3,240 from July of 2019.

Looking Back: Voter Turnout in Southeastern Michigan’s Past Presidential Elections

Voting matters, and so does voter turnout. 

While record breaking turnout is expected for tomorrow’s election, we won’t know the results for a few days still. However, past data and current polls can help put this into context. So, we are re-examining the voter turnout change between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential Elections.

In 2016 Republican areas in Southeastern Michigan experienced marginally increased turnout between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. The focus of that increase was southern Macomb County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Conversely, the traditionally Democratic areas in Wayne County experienced some of the largest voter turnout decreases. Detroit saw especially large decreases.

In Macomb County, 15 communities experienced voter turnout increase, with increases ranging between 2.5 and 0.06 percent. Ray Township experienced the largest voter increase at 2.5 percent. Another interesting community that experienced voter turnout increase was St. Clair Shores; this city that flipped from Democratic to Republican, and here voter turnout increased by 1.6 percent. There were also eight of the communities that experienced a voter turnout decrease between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. It was Chesterfield Township that experienced the largest decrease in the county at 5.35 percent. Although Warren and Sterling Heights have been noted for having several precincts flip from Democratic to Republican between the two Presidential elections, both cities had areas that remained Democratic in 2016. Sterling Heights experienced a 2.7 percent voter turnout decrease in 2016 and Warren experienced a 1.5 percent decrease.

We have previously  highlighted how in Oakland County higher income communities like Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham flipped from being Republican in the 2012 presidential election to Democratic in the 2016 election. These communities though experienced a voter turnout decrease between the two elections, as did majority of the Oakland County communities that went Democratic in 2016. With the exceptions of Ferndale, Madison Heights and Clawson, all of the Democratic communities experienced a voter turnout decrease in 2016. Ferndale had the largest voter turnout increase in the county at 11.6 percent while Berkley had the largest decrease at 23.7 percent.

Wayne County communities experienced some of the largest decreases in voter turnout in 2016, with Inkster experiencing a 26 percent decrease, River Rouge experiencing a 23 percent decrease and Redford and Detroit experiencing 11 percent decreases, each. Again, these communities all went Democratic in the 2016 election; they also went Democratic in the 2012 election.

Throughout much of Downriver, an area that flipped from Democratic to Republican in 2016, an increase in voter turnout occurred. Rockwood had the largest increase at 7 percent. The city of Flat Rock did flip from Democratic to Republican between the two elections, but experienced a 16.36 percent voter turnout decrease.

Hamtramck and Highland Park experienced the largest voter turnout increases in Wayne County; Hamtramck had a 12 percent increase and Highland Park had an 11 percent increase. Both cities went Democratic in the 2012 and 2016 elections.

In Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Township had the highest voter turnout increase at 3.37 percent; this community went Democratic in both elections. The only Washtenaw County community that went Democratic in the 2016 election and experienced a voter turnout increase was Sylvan Township; it had a 0.37 percent increase. There were, however, several Republican communities in Washtenaw County  that experienced voter turnout increases. For example, Northfield Township experienced a 19.6 percent voter turnout increase.

Overall, the data comparing the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections show there were very few communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced large voter turnout increases (above 10 percent). The marginal increases though occurred in areas that went Republican in the 2016 Presidential election, particularly in northern Macomb County, St. Clair County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Voter turnout for this election will certainly impact the results. 

According to the Michigan Secretary of State there are more than 8 million registered voters in the State of Michigan as of Nov. 1, 2020. Additionally, 6.76 million of those are considered active voters, according to the Michigan Secretary of State. Election officials are expecting the Nov. 3, 2020 Presidential Election to be record breaking in terms of the number of ballots cast, and as of late last week Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said more than 2.6 million Michigan residents had already cast a ballot, while about 3.3 million absentee ballots have been requested. Have questions about voter registration, your ballot or your polling location? Click here

Michigan’s New Daily COVID Numbers Continue to Rise Above 1,000

Michigan reported 1,586 new COVID cases on Oct. 20, 2020, bringing the total number of cases reported to 149,392. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of COVID cases on Oct. 18 was 145,751–a five-day rolling average. The five-day rolling average for the total number of COVID cases (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing and/or the quality of reporting or failure to report.

Chart 2 shows that, based on the five-day rolling averages, the growth of new COVID cases in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties continues to increase at higher rates than the other counties in the region and than Detroit. On Oct. 18, Wayne County reported the highest number of cases in the region at 20,322. Oakland County reported 18,589 cases and Macomb County reported 16,065. Detroit reported 14,969 COVID cases on Oct. 18; Macomb County surpassed the total number of confirmed cases in Detroit on Oct. 6. While the more densely populated areas in the region have the highest number of confirmed cases, Washtenaw County has pulled away from the other more rural counties in with higher numbers as well. Washtenaw County reported 4,190 confirmed cases on Oct. 18.

As shown in Chart 3, Oakland County reported the highest number of new daily confirmed cases on Oct. 18 at 94, followed by Wayne County with 78 new confirmed cases and Macomb County with 73. Washtenaw County reported 35 new daily confirmed COVID cases on Oct. 18 while Detroit reported 21. These numbers are also based on a five-day rolling average.

The daily data highlighted in these posts is from Michigan.gov/coronavirus, where data is updated daily at 3 p.m. Historical data were supplied from covidtracking.com, which republishes COVID data from the State. Additionally, the case totals do not reflect the number of people who have recovered, just those who have been infected. In early June the State changed how it reports its data on the website, making data more accurate in the long-term but more complicated to track as well. The State regularly updates older data and as we continue to publish regular updates on COVID the State’s changes to past data many not always be reflected in our posts. The data published in new posts is accurate for the day we received it on though.

The chart below (Chart 4) highlights how Wayne County not only has the highest number of confirmed total COVID cases in the region (this data does not include Detroit’s numbers) it also has the highest number of confirmed cases per capita. According to the data released on Oct. 20, Wayne County had 23,598 COVID cases per million people. Macomb County had the second highest number of confirmed cases per million people at 19,351. Detroit had 10,019 confirmed COVID cases per million people; the only two counties in the region with few number of cases per capita were Livingston and St. Clair counties.

In Chart 5, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan reached 6,996 on Oct. 18. The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on Oct. 20 was 7,053, an increase of 22 deaths from the prior day, with one of those deaths being added to the total through death record reviews. Chart 6 (a five-day rolling average) shows that on Oct. 18, the City of Detroit reported 1,546 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,309 deaths on Oct. 18. Although the curved has flattened for the number of COVID deaths in Southeastern Michigan, the numbers are still growing, just at a much slower pace.

COVID-19 numbers in Michigan continue to increase at a quicker rate than what has occurred in months. Classrooms and gatherings some of the main areas where outbreaks are occurring. According to the State of Michigan, as of Oct. 15, there were outbreaks in 84 Michigan school buildings in 31 counties. Overall, between Oct. 8 and Oct. 15 there was a 25 percent increase in K-12 classroom outbreaks. Furthermore, universities are also seeing increases in the student population contracting COVID. To slow the spread within this community some universities and local health departments are taking their own precautions. For example, the Washtenaw County Health Department just issued a 2-week stay at home order for University of Michigan undergraduate students to curb the spread. In Washtenaw County last week the number of new confirmed and probable COVID cases increased by more than 600. 

As the daily number of confirmed COVID cases continue to increase by more than 1,000 daily we must continue practice the mandates set forth by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which includes wearing masks, remaining socially distant and limiting social gatherings.

A Look At Michigan’s Local Income Taxes

In the State of Michigan local governments have the ability to levy a local income tax on those who live and/or work in the municipality. There are 24 municipalities in Michigan that levy a local income tax for residents, non-residents and corporations. According to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck were the first two municipalities in the state to levy local income taxes in 1962. As of 2018 Detroit levied at 2.4 percent income tax on residents and a 1.2 percent income tax on non-residents. In Hamtramck, a 1 percent income tax was levied on residents and a 0.5 percent income tax was levied on non-residents. According to Michigan tax law, and as is shown, non-residents cannot be taxed more than 50 percent of the local income taxed on residents. 

According to Michigan tax law, in general, a 1 percent income tax can be charged on residents and corporations and a 0.5 percent income tax can be changed to non-residents earned in the imposing city. The city council in cities over 600,000 (Detroit) may impose rates of up to 2.4 percent on residents, 2 percent on corporations and 1.2 on non-residents. Furthermore, a city that levied an income tax and where more than 22 mills had been levied for city purposes and at least 65 mills for all purposes during the prior calendar year is allowed to impose local income tax rates of up to 2 percent on residents and corporations and 1 percent on non-residents if approved by voters before Nov. 15, 1988. Additionally, cities that levied an income tax before March 30, 1989, and with (a) populations between 140,000 and 600,000 (Grand Rapids); or (b) populations between 65,000 and 100,000 in a county with a population below 300,000 (Saginaw) may increase the tax rate to not more than 1.5 percent on residents and corporations and 0.75 percent on nonresidents if approved by voters. 

According to the State of Michigan, Detroit has the highest income tax at 2.4 percent, followed by the City of Highland Park at 2 percent (both of which are imposed on residents). A 2 percent local income tax was imposed on corporations in Detroit and Highland Park as recent as 2018, according to the Citizens Research Council. 

 In 2017 (most recent data available) Detroit levied about $292.7 million through its local income tax on residents, non-residents and corporations; Hamtramck levied $2.3 million Grand Rapids and Sagniaw each levied 1.5 percent income taxes on residents and corporations. Grand Rapids levied the second highest amount in local income taxes at about $94 million. Of course, the amount each city levies is not only dependent on the amount levied by the three groups but also by the population of who lives there, who works there and what businesses are there. 

In addition to the cities above the, the following cities issue income taxes of 1 percent on residents and corporations:

  • Albion
  • Battle Creek
  • Benton Harbor
  • Big Rapids
  • East Lansing
  • Flint
  • Grayling
  • Hamtramck
  • Hudson
  • Ionia
  • Jackson
  • Lansing
  • Lapeer
  • Muskegon
  • Muskegon Heights
  • Pontiac
  • Port Huron
  • Portland
  • Springfield
  • Walker

The city that earned the lowest amount in a local income tax is Hudson at about $484,000.

In addition to the cities discussed above, the City of Mount Clemens has also discussed levying a local income tax to earn more local revenue. Mount Clemens is the county seat in Macomb County, which employs about 2,000 county employees. Local income taxes are a means for a local government to generate additional revenue. And, while it helps the local governments–especially ones who lack additional means to levy revenue–it also impacts those who live in the municipality and those who work and/or own a business there. 

How Much of Your County Budget Goes to the Sheriff’s Department?

A government entity’s budget is the document that spells out its priorities, both for the coming year and the future. The general fund is the primary fund used by a government entity and includes all general purpose in-and-out flows of revenues and expenditures that do not include special purpose, or enterprise, funds. At the county level in Southeastern Michigan the general fund budgets may be hundreds of million dollars, being larger for counties with larger population sizes. For example, in Wayne County the projected general fund budget for fiscal year 2021 is about $580 million while Macomb County’s proposed general fund budget for 2021 is $274.5 million, and Monroe County’s is about $46.8 million. Those general fund budgets, and the budgets of the other counties in the region, include personnel and operational costs for the counties. Typically, sheriff’s departments have among the highest departmental budgets in a county, with personnel and related costs making up majority of their expenditures. From road patrol to jail personnel to marine patrol to office support, the amount allocated out of a sheriff’s department budget covers various aspects. According to Statisa, major municipalities spend 20-45 percent of their general fund budgets on police related matters. The data in this post shows the general fund share of Sheriff’s Departments and is in line with that statistic.  It further shows that policing and jail operations at the County level are high-level priorities, according to  the percentage each sheriff’s department in Southeastern Michigan makes up of the corresponding general fund.

As shown in the map above 24-46 percent of each county’s general fund is allocated to the sheriff’s department (only Washtenaw and Oakland counties currently have adopted budgets for 2021, the others are proposed and/or projected). It should also be noted that much of those allocated funds do not include forfeiture or other special enterprise funds a sheriff’s department may have access to. Each department’s budget isn’t identical to its neighboring counties’, so while comparing each local sheriff’s department’s spending out of the General Fund is not apples-to-apple, it does provide a solid glimpse into each county’s priorities in spending. According to our research, the percentage of funds allocated to the sheriff’s department from the general fund in Washtenaw County is the highest at 46 percent; this is equivalent to about $57.1 million and includes the sheriff’s department, the corrections department and the emergency services department. Washtenaw County does not present its budget in a roll-down line item manner, which provides the greatest amount of detail, so exact reasons as to why it has the highest percentage of its general fund allocated to the sheriff’s department is not explicitly known. In the Washtenaw County budget though it did address how the department contracts with various municipalities for policing services; this brings in revenue but also in response causes expenditures as well. Contracted policing services are likely one of several reasons why the budget allocation percentage is 46 percent. Revenue from a public safety and mental health millage to support sheriff’s operations could also be related to the corresponding expenditures. Finally, the county also runs a central dispatch center. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Department is the only other one locally where more than 40 percent of the county’s general fund is allocated to the sheriff’s department. In Livingston County 42 percent of the general fund, or $51.4 million, is allocated.

Wayne County has the lowest percentage of general funds allocated to the sheriff’s department at 24 percent, or $141.3 million. For Wayne County, these allocated funds include those for the operation of the county jail (the building of the new jail is funded separately), non-jail services, sheriff court services and those related to the sheriff’s executive team. Macomb County has the second lowest percentage allocated at 33 percent, or $89.3 million. The funds allocated to the sheriff’s department in Macomb County include the patrol, jail and marine personnel, jail operations and other related items. In Oakland County 34 percent of the general fund ($165.9 million) is allocated to the sheriff’s department, and this includes corrective services, emergency communication services and emergency response and preparedness. Monroe County allocates 38 percent of its general fund budget to the sheriff’s department. Monroe County’s allocation includes road patrol, contracting with local municipalities and school units, marine safety and the jail; this totals $18 million.

The budget information available for St. Clair County was from previous years; current data was requested but not received.

While this post highlights budget spending priorities on policing and jail services in Southeastern Michigan, it also shows how budgeting from one local unit of government to another differs and can distort how much one department is actually receiving or expending. Reasons such as these are among many that explain why the public should pay close attention to how their local governments’ budgets and what the funds are allocated to. A budget document sets the priorities, and if the public speaks up, the priorities in your community can be shifted, as can the funds to support them. 

Recent Drop in Michigan’s COVID Numbers Still Not Enough

On July 20, the State of Michigan reported a total of 74,152 cases, an increase of 489 cases from the day prior. In terms of the number of new daily cases, the 489 new COVID cases reported on July 20 is a small increase from the 483 new cases reported on July 19. Of the new 489 new COVID cases, 202 were documented in Southeastern Michigan. In total, 41 percent of the new COVID cases were in Southeastern Michigan, meaning case numbers are increasing at a higher rate outside of the region than locally. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of COVID cases on July 18 was 73,068–a five-day rolling average. The five-day rolling average for the total number of COVID cases (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing and/or the quality of reporting or failure to report.

Chart 2 shows that, based on the five-day rolling averages, the growth of new COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan continues to increase, with the numbers in Wayne County continuing to inch closer to those being reported in Detroit. On July 18, Wayne County’s numbers reached 11,595. Detroit, which continues to have the highest overall number of cases, reported 12,178 COVID cases as of July 18. Oakland County reported 10,110 cases and Macomb County reported 8,013.

The City of Detroit had 1,817 COVID cases per 100,000 people as of July 20, an increase from 1,812 on July 19 (Chart 3). This is based upon a reported increase of 32 new COVID cases between July 19 and July 20, bringing the total number of COVID cases in Detroit to 12,223. Wayne County reported 11,085 cases per 100,000 people, and Oakland County had 810 cases per 100,000 people. These per capita rates were based upon 11,686 total cases for Wayne and for 10,191 Oakland. Macomb County reported 928 cases per 100,000 people, which is based upon 8,107 cases.

The daily data highlighted in these posts is from Michigan.gov/coronavirus, where data is updated daily at 3 p.m. Historical data were supplied from covidtracking.com, which republishes COVID data from the State. Additionally, the case totals do not reflect the number of people who have recovered, just those who have been infected. In early June the State changed how it reports its data on the website, making data more accurate in the long-term but more complicated to track as well. The State regularly updates older data and as we continue to publish regular updates on COVID the State’s changes to past data many not always be reflected in our posts. The data published in new posts is accurate for the day we received it on though.

Chart 4 shows that Oakland County has been reporting the highest number of daily cases, according to the five-day rolling average, in about the last week. On July 18, Oakland County reported 74 new daily cases; Chart 4.1 also shows this, but at a more zoomed in level. The charts also show that Detroit reported 34 new cases on July 18, which is lower than the new cases reported out of Macomb and Wayne counties as well. Macomb County reported 62 new cases and Wayne County reported 72.

Map 1, which shows the average number of new daily COVID cases between July 9 and July 16 for Southeastern Michigan, highlights how Wayne County had the highest average number of new cases at 70.4, but Oakland County was right behind it with an average of 68.8. new cases. The map also shows that for Detroit the average number of new cases last week was 31.1 and it was 46.6 for Macomb County. As the data above shows, all four of those entities, and the remaining counties in the region all reported lower average weekly numbers for new daily COVID cases between July 9-16 than what was reported on July 18.

On July 20, the per capita rate for the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people was 5 for the State, which was equivalent to 482 new cases (Chart 5). Detroit and Wayne County also each reported a per capita rate of 5 new daily COVID cases per 100,000 people on July 20, which was equivalent to 32 and 50 new cases, respectively. Macomb County was the only entity in the region to report a higher per capita rate than the State. Macomb County reported a per capita rate of 7 which was equivalent to 65 new daily cases.  Oakland County reported a per capita rate of which was equivalent to 42 new cases. In Southeastern Michigan there were 202 new COVID cases reported on July 20.

Map 2 mimics the message of Map 1, with Wayne County having the highest average number of daily confirmed COVID cases per 100,000 between July 9 and July 16. During that week Wayne County had an average of 6.8 daily COVID cases per 100,000 people. Detroit averaged a per capita rate of 4.5 during that time frame.

In Chart 6, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths in Michigan, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan reached 6,114 on July 18. The actual cumulative COVID-19 deaths on July 20 was 6,126, an increase of 7 deaths from the prior day.  Of the 7 deaths that were reported on July 20, 4 occurred in Southeastern Michigan.

Chart 7 (a 5-day rolling average) further hones in on where the majority of the COVID deaths in Michigan have occurred, and continue to occur, in Southeastern Michigan. As of July 18, the City of Detroit had reported 1,467 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,190 deaths on July 18.

The per capita rates for the number of total COVID deaths in Southeastern Michigan continues to remain fairly stagnant across the region. Detroit reported 218 total COVID deaths per 100,000 people on July 20, which was equivalent to 1,468 deaths. Wayne County reported a per capita rate of 111 (1,191 deaths), Macomb County reported a per capita rate of 103 (892 deaths) and Oakland County reported a per capita rate of 86 (1,076 deaths). The State of Michigan reported a per capita rate for the number of total COVID deaths at 61 per 100,000 people, which was equivalent to 6,126  total deaths.

Chart 9, the five day rolling average of deaths, shows the number of new statewide deaths was reported at 15 on July 18. Furthermore, Chart 10 and Chart 10.1 shows how the number of deaths in Southeastern Michigan continues to remain low. Chart 10.1 shows a more in-depth look at the number of new daily COVID deaths in the last month so viewers can better discern where in the Southeastern Michigan the numbers are increasing, decreasing or remaining the same. Detroit reported 2 new daily deaths on July 18 while Macomb, Oakland and Wayne each reported 1.

In Map 3, Wayne and Oakland counties had the highest average number of daily COVID deaths between July 9 and July 16 at 1.5 and Detroit averaged 1.3 deaths. Macomb County averaged 1 death during that time frame. The averages last week reported in the map are similar to the daily death numbers that have been being reported in Southeastern Michigan.

Chart 11.1 shows the fatality rate for just the month of July with the cumulative number of new cases and deaths for only this month. This chart was created in recognition that case and death numbers are lower than they were even a month ago and to highlight how even if case numbers spike death numbers continue to remain low. Using only July cumulative data for the new number of cases and deaths, Monroe County has recently had the highest fatality rate, which was reported at 13.4 percent on July 20, which is based on 13 new cumulative deaths since the beginning of July and 97 new cumulative cases. The overall fatality rate for most of the region is much higher than the new recent cumulative look we are exploring. For example, the City of Detroit had an overall fatality rate of 12 percent on July 20 but with a more recent look, which includes lower new daily case and death numbers, it was 6.45 percent (as shown in the chart below).

On July 20 the State of Michigan reported 489 new COVID cases, which is amongst the lowest daily total reported in about a week. With weekend numbers reaching close to 700, the decline is welcomed but also means we—as a State and a society—have a ways to go to get to a more manageable number of new daily case numbers.

The Impacts of COVID on Mobility in Southeastern Michigan

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the daily lives of everyone-from their work and school schedules to the way we obtain goods and services to how we recreate and interact with others. These changes directly relate to national and local mobility trends, especially since several Executive Orders in Michigan have either mandated or encouraged people to stay home and telecommute whenever possible.

The data we present here show the changes in mobility in Southeastern Michigan. These data were produced by Google, which is creating mobility reports for each State during this pandemic. The data presented below highlights the percent change in visits to places like grocery stores and parks in the seven counties that make up Southeastern Michigan. The list below is the percent change in mobility to these places between the first of April to mid-May for the State of Michigan. The maps below also reflect that timeframe and show the percent change in mobility trends at the county level for Southeastern Michigan compared to what baseline for mobility was to these places before the pandemic hit.

Shifts in Mobility Trends: Michigan

  • Residential: +8%
  • Workplaces: -28%
  • Grocery and pharmacy: -6%
  • Retail and recreation: -34%
  • Parks: +180%
  • Transit stations:-24%

Places of Residence

With the coronavirus pandemic came a statewide lockdown, which mandated people only leave their homes for necessities and not to visit with anyone outside of their homes, unless they were an essential worker. However, even with the mandate there was an increase in mobility between residences, statewide and locally. Statewide, there was an 8 percent increase in mobility to residential homes, and in Southeastern Michigan there was between a 7-12 percent increase, depending on the county. Washtenaw County had the highest percent increase in mobility between residences at 12 percent; St. Clair County had the lowest percent change at 7 percent. In Wayne County there was a 9 percent increase in mobility between residences, and in Macomb and Oakland counties there was a 10 percent increase.

Workplaces

As noted, the Governor’s emergency orders throughout the pandemic have required certain places of business to close and for others to allow for telecommuting whenever possible. With such policy shifts came a decline in mobility to workplaces all throughout Michigan. At the State level there was a 28 percent decline from the normal amount of mobility to workplaces, and throughout Southeastern Michigan there was between a 24-40 percent decline in mobility to workplaces between the beginning of April and mid-May. Washtenaw County had the largest decline at 40 percent. In Wayne County there was a 32 percent decline in mobility to workplaces prior the coronavirus pandemic, in Oakland County there was a 36 percent decline, and in Macomb County there was a 35 percent decline. Monroe County had the smallest percent decline from the baseline at 24 percent.

Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

Between April and mid-May there was a decrease in mobility to grocery stores and pharmacies throughout Michigan, including in Southeastern Michigan. Washtenaw County experienced the largest decline at 25 percent while Monroe County’s shift was only 4 percent lower than the amount residents normally commute to these places. Although we witnessed bare shelves at the beginning of the pandemic, with certain product shortages continuing through today, the decline in mobility to these stores is not surprising as both consumers and businesses shifted to online and third party delivery services.

Retail and Recreation Locations

With the restrictions on business operations, including if they could even remain open to the public, it is also not surprising that at the State and local levels mobility trends have experienced a decline to retail and recreation locations. Washtenaw County again experienced the largest decline in mobility from the frequency residents were traveling before the pandemic to retail and recreation locations. According to the data, there was a 50 percent decline in commuting to retail and recreation locations for Washtenaw County. In Wayne County that decline was 33 percent, in Macomb County it was 37 percent, and in Oakland County it was 48 percent. At the State level there was a 34 percent decline from the baseline in the amount people traveled to retail and recreation locations.

Parks

Similar to the trend being experienced at the State level, all counties in Southeastern Michigan have experienced an increase in mobility to parks. Wayne County experienced the smallest percent change at 32 percent while Macomb County experienced the largest percent change at 347 percent. There were three counties-Macomb, St. Clair and Washtenaw – where mobility to parks increased at a higher rate than the mobility rate increase at the State level (180 percent).

Transit Stations

The data also shows that there was a decrease in mobility to transit stations throughout most of Southeastern Michigan, but not the entire region. In Monroe and St. Clair counties there was an 18 and 6 percent increase in mobility, respectively. In Wayne County, which provides public transportation via both the Detroit Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Michigan Authority of Regional Transit (SMART) mobility to these stations decreased by 34 percent. There are also communities in Oakland County and all of Macomb County that offers public transportation via SMART; mobility to these stations declined by 15 percent and 3 percent, respectively. In Washtenaw County, where there is also a local transportation system, mobility to these stations declined by 28 percent. There was a 24 percent decline in mobility to transportation stations at the State level.

Overall, this data provides a glimpse into how the coronavirus pandemic has shifted certain aspects of our everyday ways of life. These current shifts could lead to long-term policy changes as we as a state and a nation are seeing that telecommuting, road diets and contactless shopping, among other changes, are possible. Pros and cons can be argued for the long-term impacts of such changes, however, decreases in commuting does mean a decline in certain pollutants being emitted, which is environmentally beneficial and a shift we need to implement for the long-term viability of this planet.

Michigan Not Immune to Large Scale Increases in COVID Daily COVID Numbers

Michigan, like many states throughout the U.S., continues to see new confirmed daily COVID case numbers that are higher than what was reported less than a month ago. On July 16, the State of Michigan reported 71,842 total COVID cases, an increase of 645 cases from the day prior. In terms of the number of new daily cases, the 645 reported on July 16 was a decrease from the 891 new cases reported on July 15. Also, of the 645 new COVID cases, 324 were documented in Southeastern Michigan. In total, 50 percent of the new COVID cases were in Southeastern Michigan. Up until the last few days, in recent weeks majority of the new case numbers in Michigan were occurring outside of Metro-Detroit region. In Chart 1 we show that the State total for the number of COVID cases on July 14 was 70,481–a five-day rolling average. The five-day rolling average for the total number of COVID cases (Chart 1) reflects a smoother curve and adjusts for fluctuations in testing and/or the quality of reporting or failure to report. A closer look at Chart 1 shows how the once flattened curve has been increasing at a higher rate since late June, with case numbers now about 70,000.

Chart 2 shows that, based on the five-day rolling averages, the growth of new COVID cases in Southeastern Michigan continues to increase, with noticeable upticks particularly in Wayne and Oakland counties. On July 14 Wayne County reported 11,323 confirmed COVID cases and Oakland County reported 10,063. Between June 24 (when new case numbers began to rise again) and July 14 Wayne County reported 1,260 new cases and Oakland County reported 1,043 new cases. On July 14, Detroit, which still has the highest total number of confirmed COVID cases, reported 11,461 cases. However, since June 24 Detroit has reported about half of the new number of COVID cases that Wayne County has. Between June 24 and July 14 Detroit reported 584 new cases. On July 14 Macomb County reported 7,784, an increase of 753 new cases since June 24.

As noted, new daily COVID case numbers have been increasing at a faster rate in July than in June. The two five-day rolling average charts below (Chart 3 and Chart 3.1) show that up through early June daily COVID case numbers were declining, but since about June 24 those numbers have been on the rise. A little over a week ago is when daily case numbers really began to spike. However, on July 14 there was a decline from the number of new daily cases reported by the State from the days prior; this is on trend with the fact that the State of Michigan had a lower number of new COVID cases than the previous day. Oakland County had the highest number of new daily cases on July 14 at 50, with Wayne County following at 37. Detroit reported 22 new cases and Macomb County reported 25 new cases.

While the number of new daily COVID cases has been experiencing an overall increase over the last few weeks, the cumulative number of COVID deaths has remained low and fairly stagnant. The State reported on July 16 there was a cumulative total of 6,101 COVID deaths, an increase of 16 deaths from the day prior. Of those 16 deaths, 13 were added to the daily count as a result of death certificates being compared with the State’s COVID database. Additionally, of those 16 total deaths, 12 were reported out of Southeastern Michigan.

In Chart 4, the five-day rolling average for the number of deaths in Michigan, shows the number of deaths in the State of Michigan continued to slowly inch toward 6,081.

Chart 5 (a 5-day rolling average) further hones in on how majority of the COVID deaths in Michigan have occurred, and continue to occur, in Southeastern Michigan. On July 14, the City of Detroit reported 1,459 deaths. Wayne County had the second highest total at 1,185 deaths on July 14.

Chart 6, the five day rolling average of deaths, shows the number of new statewide deaths was reported at 5 on July 14. Furthermore, Chart 7 and Chart 7.1 shows how the number of deaths in Southeastern Michigan continues to remain low, with a noticeable decrease beginning to occur on June 15. Chart 10.1 shows a more in-depth look at the number of new daily COVID deaths in the last month so viewers can better discern where in the Southeastern Michigan the numbers are increasing, decreasing or remaining the same. Detroit, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties each reported 1 new death on July 14; these were the only new deaths reported in the region. As Chart 10.1 highlights, no more than 7 new daily deaths have been reported since June 1 and those numbers have not reached above 3 since July 7. Due to Detroit and Wayne County reporting the same numbers on some dates it may appear that the Detroit line does not go all the through, however this is just due to the fact that the Wayne County data points are the same.

Michigan has not been immune to the national trend of confirmed daily COVID case increases. With new daily numbers hovering above 400, and beyond, for the last week we have seen Gov. Gretchen Whitmer roll back on her re-opening plan and institute a public face mask mandate to help ensure residents’ safety and a decline in the spread of the virus. However, neither can be ensured if the public doesn’t adhere to the laws and standards set forth by local, state and federal government agencies.