About 260 coronavirus cases in MI as positive test rate drops


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has reported 257 more confirmed coronavirus cases and seven virus-related deaths, at the same time posting a positive test rate lower than the state has seen since the very start of the pandemic.

Wednesday’s update brings the total number of confirmed cases in Michigan to 891,314 since the virus was first detected here on March 10, 2020, and the total number of associated deaths to 19,439.

On Tuesday, 20,788 samples were tested for the virus and 383 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.

The positive test rate for Tuesday was 1.84%. That’s the lowest figure since March 11, 2020, when the state ran only one test and it was negative.

The seven-day average of the positive test rate has dropped to 2.7%. That’s below the 3% threshold that public health officials have said shows community spread is controlled. The average has not been below 3% since August and it hasn’t been as low as it is now since July 3 of last year.

The death totals were revised down in both Kent and Muskegon counties: Kent County’s number was changed by one to 784 and Muskegon County’s by two to 357. This has not been unusual as cases are double-checked and sometimes moved between counties.

The total number of cases in Kent County was revised down from the previous day by 21 to 68,286. The Kent County Health Department attributed the unusually large revision to in-depth reviews of cases; it says such checks are more viable now that the overall case load has eased.

Muskegon County has had 15,649 total cases since the start of the pandemic.

Allegan County recorded one additional death for a total of 129. It has had 9,978 confirmed cases.

Wayne County, the state’s most populous, recorded four more deaths for a total of 4,795 and 56 more cases for a total of 152,626 since the start of the pandemic. Oakland County has had 101,907 confirmed cases (26 more than the previous day) since the start of the pandemic and 2,261 deaths (one more). Macomb County has had 91,756 cases (26 more) and 2,333 deaths (one more).

The improving positive test rate isn’t the only key virus metric that has been looking better — in fact, just about every number keeps getting better. The seven-day average of the case rate has been on a steady decline for nine weeks and is now below its summer 2020 low. Only about 630 adults confirmed to have COVID-19 are in the hospital — the last surge peaked at around 4,160 inpatients. The average death rate is also lower than it has been since March.

Kent County Health Department spokesman Steve Kelso told News 8 over the phone that health officials are “really thankful to see the positivity rate falling, the case rates are falling.”

“It looks better than it has in a long, long time,” he said.

But he also offered a note of caution. He said officials are keeping a close eye on the data, looking too see whether there’s a post-Memorial Day surge. If that happens, it should start to show up in the numbers as early as this weekend or Monday, two weeks after the holiday.

Kelso also urged those who have not yet been vaccinated against the virus to get their shots, saying the goal to reach 70% of the population has not yet been reached. With plenty of supply and lower demand, appointments are easy to get and many places are offering walk-up options.

More than 8.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Michigan so far and 59.8% of residents 16 and up have gotten at least one dose. Among people 12 and up, nearly 55% have gotten at least one dose.

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