Michigan coronavirus case increase includes backlogged tests


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has confirmed an additional 1,191 cases of coronavirus, a much larger increase than in recent days that the state attributed to the processing of backlogged results.

In all, the state has now confirmed 49,582 cases of the virus.

The state says that within the 1,191 were cases reported by commercial labs Garcia, Orchard Technology and P4, which had previously been entered manually into the Michigan Disease Surveillance System, causing a backlog of several weeks. Garcia works largely with correctional facilities and businesses, the state noted.

The state says though the backlogged cases took a while to get into the state system, the patients who tested positive were notified in a timely manner.

The state also recorded 73 more deaths, according to data released Thursday afternoon, 35 of which were discovered during a check of death certificates to find any that weren’t previously reported. In all, 4,787 people have died after contracting the virus.

The outbreak remains the worst in southeast Michigan. Wayne County, including the city of Detroit, has had *18,770 cases (401 more than listed the day prior) and 2,183 deaths (27 more). Oakland County has had 7,952 cases and 888 deaths. Macomb County has had 6,232 cases and 728 deaths.

Within the Michigan Department of Corrections, 2,171 inmates have tested positive for the virus (26 more than listed the day prior). The number of inmates who have died after contracting the virus stood at 56.

In Genesee County, where Flint is, there have been 1,813 cases and 228 deaths.

Kent County had one more death for a total of 48 and 181 more cases for a total of 2,627.

Dr. Brian Hartl, the lead epidemiologist for the Kent County Health Department, told News 8 Thursday that he doesn’t think the county has yet reached the peak of its outbreak.

“Some of that depends on the testing,” Hartl said. “I think that we are going to see more testing being done here locally in the course of the next few weeks. We know of health care systems that are going to be ramping up their capacity even more. We know that the state is going to come in and ramp up testing capacity daily locally. So we’re going to be testing a lot more people, and testing more people leads to more cases. So I think that that is one thing that will lead to us seeing a rise in the number of cases we have each day.”

He added that the potential for virus transmission will also increase as people start to go back to work. With the weather improving and more people wanting to get out to enjoy it, Hartl reminded everyone to keep the 6-foot distance and wear a mask when in contact with others.

Kalamazoo County recorded four more deaths for a total of 40. It has 669 confirmed cases.

Ottawa County had two additional deaths, bringing the total there to 23. It has 483 confirmed cases.

Calhoun, Muskegon and Van Buren counties each had one more death for totals of 18, 21 and five, respectively. Calhoun County has 286 confirmed cases. Muskegon County has 435 cases. Van Buren County has 100 cases.

On Tuesday, the most recent day for which state data is available, 14,242 coronavirus tests were conducted at labs in Michigan and 6.1% were positive — a new low percentage for the state.

The percentages of positive tests have been declining:

  • May 5 (one week prior to Tuesday): 10,762 tests with a 8.5% positivity rate.
  • April 28 (two weeks prior): 8,065 tests with a 12.4% positivity rate.
  • April 21 (three weeks prior): 7,007 tests with a 17.9% positivity rate.
  • April 14 (four weeks prior): 4,653 tests with a 26.5% positivity rate.

In the region of the state that includes Kent County, 2,021 samples were tested Tuesday and 6.7% came back positive. In the region that includes Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, 825 samples were tested and 6.2% were positive.

Hartl noted that different regions of the state will see different changes in the spread of the virus.

“We can’t depend on what’s going on throughout our state, what the trends are in our state. We really need to look locally to see what’s going on in our community,” he said. “…We can have influence on what’s happening locally, with our local businesses, helping them to open safely, taking certain precautions as they begin to open.”

State officials say testing for the virus, contact tracing to identify spread and isolation to contain outbreak clusters will be key in allowing the economy to reopen. They are working to test 450,000 residents in May.

COVID-19 presents with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Everyone who has coronavirus symptoms and essential workers who are not showing symptoms can now get tested. You can find a testing location near you on the state’s website and get information on how to set up an appointment.

*Editor’s note: In the original article, we posted an incorrect number for the total number of cases of COVID-19 in Wayne County. We have updated the number from 18,974 to 18,770. We apologize for the error.


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