GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan reported 8,202 more confirmed cases of coronavirus over the weekend, as well as eight more associated deaths.
The Monday update, which includes two days’ worth of data, brings the total number of cases in the state to 660,771 since the virus was first detected here a little more than a year ago and the total number of related deaths to 16,034.
On Saturday, labs tested 27,516 samples for the virus and 3,629, or 13.19%, were positive. On Sunday, 33,434 samples were tested and 5,229 were positive, a percentage of 15.64%.
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 state has started tracking 70 more coronavirus outbreaks at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, bringing the total number of such outbreaks to 274. The new outbreaks included about 15 cases at Forest Hills Eastern and Forest Hills Northern high schools; Forest Hills Central was already dealing with an outbreak of nearly 40 people. A few other West Michigan schools were also added to the list, though their outbreak totals were smaller.
K-12 schools are seeing more outbreaks as long-term care facilities are seeing fewer. At the same time, people ages 10-19 are contracting the virus at the highest rates, while those over 70 — a larger percentage of whom are vaccinated — are seeing the smallest uptick in cases.
Kent County recorded two more deaths, bringing its total to 679. It also confirmed 474 cases over the two days for a total of 52,650 since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Wayne County, the most populous county in the state, confirmed 1,611 cases over the two days for a total of 107,599. It also saw one more death for a total of 4,012. Neighboring Oakland County has had 73,925 cases (1,121 more than listed in Saturday’s report) and 1,942 deaths (one more). Macomb County has had 64,963 cases (1,376) and 1,915 deaths (one more).
Michigan is seeing cases surge again, with the average case rate and testing positivity rates now higher than they have been since mid-December. The seven-day average positivity rate is above 10%, more than three times the 3% public health officials look for to show community spread is controlled.
While the daily death rate has remained low, hospitalizations keep rising and are higher than they have been since late January.
West Michigan-based Spectrum Health had 111 COVID-19 inpatients across its hospitals Monday. That’s about twice as many as only two weeks ago, which Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese Decker “quite a big increase.”
She added that the seven-day rolling positive test average for the area is more than 12%, showing community spread is common.
“I believe we’re almost through this but this is the surge that we still need to take very seriously,” Freese Decker said, speaking at a virtual event on the post-pandemic economic outlook hosted by The Economic Club of Grand Rapids.
Citing the uptick in cases, Spectrum announced it was strengthening visitor restrictions effective Wednesday, limiting visitors for most patients to one and banning them entirely for some patients including those with COVID-19. Ascension Borgess tightened visitor restrictions last week.
The vaccine rollout is continuing and everyone in the state will be eligible to get a shot starting next week, though some areas have already opened access to everyone, including the city of Detroit Monday and Kalamazoo County effective Tuesday. Ascension Borgess has sent emails to start scheduling vaccination appointments for all its current patients.
Health officials in Kalamazoo County said they have enough vaccines on hand to open eligibility early.
“As we were evaluating our clinics that we have for the coming week, we saw that there was opportunity to not hold off,” public information officer with the county health department, Lyndi Warner, said. “We have spots available and if we can get those spots filled, we can continue to move in that positive momentum.”
So far, Michigan has received about 4.9 million doses and more than 4.1 million of those have been administered, reaching about 32.5% of the state’s population over the age of 16.
The state is vaccinating people more quickly, having now handily surpassed its goal of an average of 50,000 doses administered per day. Last week, the state averaged about 70,750 shots per day. The mass vaccination site at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids expected to give 12,000 shots Monday alone — a single-day record for the state.
Meijer also announced that vaccines are now available at every single one of its pharmacies. It expected to give 150,000 shots at 950 clinics across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Kentucky this week. You can register to get vaccinated with Meijer at its website.