GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has reported 6,036 more coronavirus cases and 49 additional deaths linked to the virus.
The Thursday update from the state included 33 deaths that were discovered during a review of death certificates to find any that had not already been reported to the state. Such checks are run three times per week.
Michigan has now had 678,295 confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic over a year ago and 16,141 related deaths.
On Wednesday, labs tested 53,312 samples for the virus and 6,826, or 12.8%, were positive. The number of positive tests is not the same as the number of new cases because people may be tested more than once. Additionally, testing numbers are from a single calendar date, while the number of new cases lists the increase since the last time the state compiled the data; these two time frames do not match up precisely.
Kent County added three deaths for a total of 686 and confirmed 320 more cases for a total of 53,539.
A few other West Michigan counties also reported additional deaths:
- Kalamazoo County: One more death for 290 total; 15,187 total confirmed cases since March 2020.
- Mecosta County: One more death for 23 total; 2,164 total cases.
- Ottawa County: One more death for 326 total; 23,471 total cases.
- Van Buren County: One more death for 89 total; 5,232 total cases.
Wayne County, the state’s most populous, recorded six more deaths for a total of 4,028 and confirmed 1,086 more cases for a total of 110,900. Neighboring Oakland County has had 76,098 confirmed cases (675 more than the previous day) and 1,953 deaths (six more). Macomb County has had 67,700 cases (925 more) and 1,928 deaths (10 more).
VARIANT THAT ORIGINATED IN BRAZIL NOW IN MICHIGAN
On Wednesday, Michigan confirmed its first case if the P.1 variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in travelers from Brazil. The patient is a person in Bay County. Authorities are working to determine where that person picked up the variant.
The most common variant in Michigan is still B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has counted nearly 1,500 B.1.1.7 cases across 51 jurisdictions.
The state has also recorded seven cases of the B.1.351 variant, which was first seen in South Africa, in six jurisdictions.
While all three variants are more transmissible than the dominant strain, the current COVID-19 vaccines should help protect against all of them.
“We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a Thursday statement. “It is now even more important that Michiganders continue to do what works to slow the spread of the virus by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”
AGE GROUPS WITH HIGHEST VACCINATION RATES AFFECTED LEAST BY SURGE
Michigan is in the midst of a case surge, with the average case rate nearly double its Feb. 19 low. The state now ranks third in the nation for highest number of cases and highest case rate, moving up three and two spots, respectively, in the last week.
The seven-day average of the positivity rate is now above 13%, more than four times the 3% public health officials look for to show community spread is controlled.
Hospitalizations have been on the rise for five straight weeks and have jumped 50% in the last week. West Michigan-based Spectrum Health has seen its patient count more than triple in the last two weeks alone. Statewide, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has risen 45% in the last week.
While the death rate has increased slightly, it remains fairly low. The state has noted that those over 60 are making up a lower percentage of the dead.
This could be because older people are most likely to have been vaccinated against COVID-19. They have been seeing the smallest increases in cases in this surge. People age 30 to 49 are now seeing the highest rates of new cases and those age 50 to 59 are seeing the largest increase in hospitalizations.
Similarly, long-term care facilities are seeing fewer outbreaks, ranking third in types of locations where the state is tracking outbreaks. K-12 schools are now far and away accounting for the largest number of outbreaks.
So far, Michigan has received nearly 5 million vaccine doses and more than 4.4 million of those have been administered. Nearly 35% of the state’s population over the age of 16 has gotten at least one shot. The goal is to reach 70%, or at least 5.6 million people.
MDHHS told News 8 this week that of the about 1.6 million people in the state who have been fully vaccinated, fewer than 250 — only about .015% — have gone on to test positive for the virus. While some of the case are still under investigation, at least 11 of the 250 have been hospitalized.