GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has reported an additional 3,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 36 related deaths.
The Friday update brings the total number of cases in the state to 840,954 since the virus was first detected here in March 2020 and the total number of related deaths to 17,711.
On Thursday, labs tested 43,841 samples for the virus and 4,253, or 9.7%, 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 confirmed 234 more cases for a total of 63,919 since the start of the pandemic. The number of deaths was revised down by three to 722. This has not been uncommon as cases are double-checked and sometimes moved between jurisdictions.
Some West Michigan counties reported more deaths:
- Allegan County: One more death for 107 total; 9,264 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
- Barry County: One more death for 58 total; 4,953 total cases.
- Kalamazoo County: Two more deaths for 317 total; 18,843 total cases.
- Muskegon County: One more death for 318 total; 13,935 total cases.
- Ottawa County: One more death for 353 total; 28,422 total cases.
Wayne County, hit hardest by the virus, reported 18 additional deaths for a total of 4,358 since the start of the pandemic and confirmed 720 cases for a total of 143,244. Oakland County has had 96,611 cases (435 more than the previous day) and 2,064 deaths (no change). Macomb County has had 87,066 cases (330 more) and 2,110 deaths (three more).
VACCINATIONS AND BENCHMARKS
So far, more than 6.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Michigan. Half of the state’s population over the age of 16 has received at least one shot and 38% of that population has finished their doses.
Aiming to continue the state’s push to get residents vaccinated as demand has started to drop off somewhat, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday laid out her “MI Vacc to Normal Challenge,” which ties the loosening of coronavirus restrictions to percentage of people who have received at least their first dose.
The four-phase plan culminates in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services lifting its Gatherings and Mask order once the 70% mark — the state’s goal — is reached. The first benchmark is 55% — which the state could reach as early as next week based on recent trends.
The Associated Press reported Friday that while Republicans who control the state Legislature were happy to see benchmarks for reopening established, they questioned what would happen if the state doesn’t hit the 70% mark. One suggested additional metrics, like case rates, should also be factored in.
After several people asked News 8 whether people who were vaccinated out-of-state — like older people who live in the South during the winter but have since returned to Michigan — are being counted toward the overall percentage, News 8 reached out to MDHHS for clarity. A spokesperson said residents who got their shots in another state can take their immunization record card to their health care provider, who can then add the information to the Michigan database.
Those who have already had the virus are still advised to get the vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
“That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19,” an FAQ page from the CDC explained. “Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.”
As demand for the vaccines drops off somewhat, focus is shifting more to convenient walk-in options and community outreach. As a result, the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, which has administered more than 200,000 doses, is expected to close toward the end of May.
FIRST CASE OF INDIA VARIANT
As the number of people vaccinated rises, Michigan is seeing its key virus metrics “trending in the right direction,” the state’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said this week. The case and test positivity rates are declining, and hospitalizations of adults confirmed to have the virus dipped below 3,000 Friday for the first time since April 2.
However, Michigan still has the highest case rate and hospital bed utilization of any state in the nation. The case rate, while 30% lower than it was two weeks ago, is four times where it stood in mid-February. The positivity rate, which is averaging above 13%, is nearly three times higher than in mid-February.
“Data still indicates that we have broad community spread,” Khaldun said at a Thursday press conference in Lansing alongside the governor. “This includes spread of the more easily transmitted variants that have been identified across the entire state.”
In all, the sate has nearly 2,300 confirmed variant cases. MDHHS added Friday that it has identified its first case of the variant B.1.617, which was first seen in India, in Clinton County.
While the state is still in a surge, health officials are getting creative to test for the virus and administer vaccines.
You can get tested or vaccines at Tulip Time in Holland beginning Saturday.
The Barry-Eaton District Health Department offering two free rapid testing clinics at its facility on W. Woodlawn Avenue in Hastings. Drive-thru testing will run from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and again 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 8.
With virus metrics looking a little better and more people getting vaccinated, the Kent and Ottawa county health departments are altering their advice for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine from 10 days, which is within guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both counties had recently been advising a 14-day quarantined under state guidance while the surge was at its worst.