GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan on Saturday reported 4,670 more cases of coronavirus and 22 related deaths as the state continues to watch metrics increase even amid the vaccine rollout.
However, there were 29 deaths included in Saturday’s update that were discovered in a check of death certificates to find any that had not already been reported to the state. Such reviews are conducted three times each week and may exceed the net increase for total related deaths.
The state explained that corrections from local health department meant the total number of deaths increased by 22.
Michigan has now seen 652,569 total confirmed cases of the virus since it was first detected here in March 2020 and 16,026 related deaths.
The state counts 569,460 patients as recovered; that estimate counts everyone still alive 30 days after developing symptoms. It does not account for the “long-haulers” who suffer symptoms, including loss of smell and taste, trouble breathing and brain fog, for months after contracting the virus.
On Friday, labs tested 42,100 samples for the virus and 4,968 were positive. That’s a positivity rate of 11.8%. 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 saw 263 more cases and 1 more death, bringing its totals to 52,176 and 677, respectively.
The following West Michigan counties also saw more deaths:
- Calhoun County: 1 more death for 229 total; 9,387 total confirmed cases.
- Kalamazoo County: 1 more death for 290 total; 14,805 total confirmed cases.
- Ottawa County: 1 more death for 324 total; 22,698 total confirmed cases.
- St. Joseph County: 1 more death for 84 total; 4,515 total confirmed cases.
- Van Buren County: 1 more death for 88 total; 5,115 total confirmed cases.
Wayne County, which has seen more cases and deaths than any other in the state, reported one more death for a total of 4,011 and confirmed 804 more cases for a total of 105,988. Neighboring Oakland County has had 72,804 cases (720 more than the previous day) and 1,941 deaths (one more). Macomb County has had 63,587 cases (725 more) and 1,914 deaths (five more).
Michigan is seeing cases surge again, this week putting up both the largest number of cases in a single week since the start of the year and also the largest number of cases in a single day since early December.
The seven-day average of positive tests has more than tripled in the five weeks since it hit a low of about 3.5%. It’s now around 10% — that’s more than three times the 3% public health officials look for to show community spread is controlled.
Hospitalizations keep ticking up and are around 2.5 times higher than they were when they hit a low of below 700 about a month ago.
The daily death rate has remained low, but it is a lagging metric, so we may be too early into the surge to see it climb.
Despite the worsening metrics, it seems unlikely that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will again tighten restrictions. They recently allowed more people to attend outdoor stadiums and arenas. Whitmer did not hold a formal COVID-19 briefing this week, though she did attend a virtual event hosted by the Michigan Chronicle and spoke with reporters Friday while touring mass vaccination sites in southwestern Michigan.
The difference now between the fall surge, she has argued, is that the vaccine rollout is underway. Michigan has given at least an initial shot to about 30% of its residents over the age of 16. The goal is to fully vaccinate 70% of that population — about 5.6 million people.
Progress toward the goal is being made and it’s speeding up. The state is routinely administering more shots week-over-week. And we are seeing the effect of that — people over the age of 70, a larger percentage of whom are vaccinated than younger age groups — are now seeing the smallest increase in infections. People younger than 60 are contracting the virus at higher rates, with those ages 10 to 19 seeing the most infections.
Everyone in the state becomes eligible to get vaccinated effective April 5, though some counties, including Ionia, have already opened access to all.