Michigan reports 2,660 more coronavirus cases as metrics worsen

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has reported 2,660 more confirmed cases of coronavirus and 47 more related deaths.

Thirty-nine of the deaths included in the Saturday data update were discovered in a review of death certificates to find any that had not been reported to the state.

Michigan has now had 624,811 total confirmed cases since the virus was first detected here about a year ago and 15,897 deaths.

The state lists 562,775 patients as recovered, an estimate that counts the number of patients who are still alive 30 days after developing symptoms. The estimate does not take into account “long-haulers” who may fight virus symptoms and complications for months.

On Friday, labs tested 37,528 samples for the virus and 3,191 were positive. That’s a positivity rate of 8.5%. 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.

Two more deaths were reported in Kent County, bringing its total to 668. It also confirmed 128 more cases for a total of 50,753.

The following West Michigan counties also recorded additional deaths:

  • Berrien County: One more death for 229 total; 11,221 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
  • Calhoun County: One more death for 224 total; 9,062 total cases.
  • Ionia County: One more death for 72 total; 4,264 total cases.
  • Newaygo County: One more death for 52 total; 2,915 total cases.
  • Ottawa County: One more death for 324 total; 21,966 total cases.

Wayne County, hit hardest by the virus, saw 12 more deaths for a total of 3,988. It confirmed 436 more cases for a total of 100,953. Neighboring Oakland County has had 68,892 total cases (293 more than the previous day) and 1,935 deaths (seven more). Macomb County has had 59,529 cases (332 more) and 1,900 deaths (four more).

Though the daily death rate continues to trend down, Michigan’s case rate has been increasing for the past four weeks and its average positive testing rate has risen 177% from mid-February. It is now nearing 7%, more than twice the 3% that public health officials look for to show community spread is controlled. Hospitalization rates have also increased in the last two weeks.

The rising metrics have triggered several of the state’s regions — including Southwest Michigan — to be moved from Risk Level D, the second-highest level, back to the highest risk level, E. The Grand Rapids and Jackson regions remain at Risk Level D. The Upper Peninsula has been downgraded to Risk Level C.

The numbers are also driving concerns that Michigan could see another surge.

“What we are seeing now is very concerning data that shows we’re going in the wrong direction with the key metrics that we’re tracking for COVID-19,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said during a Friday press conference alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Health officials are advising people to “double down” on mitigation efforts to keep the virus under control as the vaccine rollout continues. With only about 27% of the state’s population over the age of 16 having gotten at least their first shot, we are not yet near herd immunity.

Effective Monday, people ages 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities will be qualified to get the shots, along with all people age 50 and older. Everyone age 16 and up will be eligible starting April 5.

“We may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel. The only way out is to move forward and to do it together,” Whitmer said Friday.

Still, more vaccine doses are being sent to Michigan each week and case rates among those over 70, who are more likely to die of the virus, are not increasing as fast as those who are younger — likely because more people in that older age group have been vaccinated.

As a result, Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that effective Monday, outdoor stadiums and arenas could operate at 20% capacity. The state also said more high school student athletes must undergo rapid antigen testing to be allowed to play. The latest MDHHS epidemic order, which includes the updates, runs through April 19.

  

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