About 4,500 virus cases confirmed as Michigan’s positivity rate rises

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has reported 4,454 more confirmed cases of coronavirus and 16 more associated deaths.

The Wednesday update brought the total number of confirmed cases in Michigan to 637,645 since the virus was first detected here nearly one year go and the total number of related deaths to 15,935.

On Tuesday, labs tested 37,798 samples for the virus and 4,275 were positive. That’s a positivity rate of 11.31%. 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 recorded one more death for a total of 669 and confirmed 271 more cases for a total of 51,405.

A few other West Michigan counties also added more deaths:

  • Calhoun County: One more death for 225 total; 9,220 total confirmed cases.
  • Kalamazoo County: One more death for 289 total; 14,505 total cases.
  • Montcalm County: One more death for 89 total; 3,440 total cases.

Wayne County, where Detroit is, confirmed three more deaths for a total of 3,995 and 708 more cases for a total of 103,330. Neighboring Oakland County has had 70,695 confirmed cases (560 more than the previous day) and 1,936 deaths (one more). Macomb County has had 61,333 cases (626) and 1,901 deaths (no change).

Key virus metrics are showing concerning increases in Michigan: The seven-day average of the case and positive test rates have both doubled in the last month. The positivity rate has risen above 8%. Public health officials say a rate below 3% shows community spread is controlled.

The hospitalization rate is rising, too. Hospitalizations within Spectrum Health, West Michigan’s largest hospital provider, have increased about 63% in the last three weeks. As of Wednesday, the hospital system had 85 COVID-19 inpatients.

The daily death rate has remained low, but it is a lagging metric.

Michigan’s increasing numbers comes as other parts of the nation are seeing case rates decrease as more and more people are vaccinated.

Michigan has received more than 4.3 million doses of the vaccine and more than 3.7 million doses had been administered statewide, reaching about 29.6% of the population over the age of 16. The goal is to reach at least 70% — that’s at least 5.6 million people.

At the rate the state is going and if only Moderna and Pfizer two-dose vaccinations are used, Michigan could reach that 70% herd immunity mark in July. But since the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shots are in the mix, it could be sooner.

Local health departments are starting to see the effects of vaccinating a larger percentage of older people, who have been eligible longer.

“Over 70% of them (older people) have at least at one vaccine. And as case rates have started going up in other age groups that are less vaccinated … the population that is most vaccinated is staying much lower than younger age groups,” Ottawa County Department of Public Health senior epidemiologist Derel Glashower said Wednesday. “This strongly suggests the vaccine is working to protect the most vulnerable age group.”

Everyone in Michigan age 16 and up will be eligible to get vaccinated April 5, but some counties are moving to that stage early.

The state is now vaccinating people faster. It has reached and surpassed its goal of an average 50,000 shots administered per day. The combined average for the first three weeks of March is now above 62,000 shots per day.

Muskegon County is hosting a walk-in clinic at Mercy Health Physician Partners Quarterline Family Medicine at 221 S. Quarterline Road Saturday to administer 2,000 doses. Meanwhile, the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, which covers Montcalm County, is utilizing a partnership with Central Michigan University to roll out a mobile vaccination clinic.

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