This story is part of WDET’s Crossing the Lines: Canton Battles COVID series, reconnecting listeners with the people they met and issues they discovered during WDET’s 2019 Crossing the Lines Canton. Now, two years later, explore how the township of Canton has fared during the coronavirus pandemic and examine how the lives of residents have changed over the past year.
The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan were discovered on March 10, 2020. In one sense, not a lot has changed since then; the virus is still here, after all. But in another sense, a lot has changed. As of May 12, more than 18,000 people in the state have died and more than 869,000 people have been infected, according to the state.
For WDET’s series Canton Battles COVID, through the lens of Canton, WDET reporters took a look at where we are now compared to the beginning of the pandemic. A year after, some residents were feeling fatigued, less polite and confused about vaccines. But the community also found a way to stay connected, businesses figured out new ways to serve customers, and more.
Here’s a look at case rates, vaccinations and school outbreaks.
As Laura Herberg reported, earlier this spring cases were surging in the state and Canton was no exception. To give some perspective, in April of last year, Canton was averaging about five cases per 100,000 residents per day. A year later, that number had grown tenfold to an average of more than 50 cases per 100,000 per day, according to Michigan Health and Human Services data, presented by Dr. Emily Somers’ lab at the University of Michigan.
In Michigan, cases have decreased in recent weeks, but are still very high, among the highest in the country.
There were 6,875 confirmed cases in Canton Township between March 10, 2020 and April 24, 2021, making up 7% of the total cases in out-Wayne County (not including the city of Detroit), which reported 94,152 cases during the same time period, according to data from Michigan Disease Surveillance System provided by Wayne County.
The average age of people who contracted the virus was 39.4 years old, compared to 40.5 years old in Wayne County.
In Canton as of May 12, 113 people have died of the coronavirus.
Wayne County has not released data showing the percentage of residents who have been vaccinated in Canton, so Township Supervisor Anne Graham-Hudak says she doesn’t know what the rate is. But, she says, her administration made the shot available to all township employees and about 60% signed up. The township has also partnered with Kroger Pharmacy and Wayne County to administer vaccines to Plymouth and Canton residents. As of Tuesday, May 4 that program had completed 24,300 shots, according to Canton Township’s website.
Organizations like MCWS worked with Rite Aid and Kroger to get community members vaccinated.
Haaris Ahmad says in anticipation for opening in-person prayers, MCWS organizers and volunteers partnered with Rite Aid and Kroger to register and get people COVID-19 shots.
“We will have vaccinated, Inshallah [God willing] 1,250 people through just our direct vaccinations,” he says.
Between April 5 and May 2, 15 people were involved in outbreaks at the schools, including 3 students at Bentley Elementary, according to the state’s School-Related Outbreak Reporting.
The district’s student radio station, WSDP-FM (88.1 The Park), has been covering COVID-19 in the community extensively throughout the pandemic, sharing crucial updates on reopening plans, vaccination updates and more.
Because the station’s signal mostly covers Plymouth and Canton, news director Emma Johnston says her staff can tell local stories that commercial Detroit media might miss or ignore.
Read more about how they adapted their operations to keep bringing students and community members important news and information during the pandemic.