Michigan reports 3,500 new coronavirus cases; deaths rise above 18K


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has reported 3,514 more coronavirus cases and 115 more related deaths, pushing the state’s total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic above 18,000.

Of the 115 deaths announced Thursday, 92 were discovered as public health officials ran through the state’s database of death certificates to find any that had not already been reported to the state.

In all, Michigan has now counted 858,050 confirmed cases of the virus since it was first detected here in March 2020 and 18,054 related deaths. About 1,000 of those deaths have been reported in the last two weeks.

On Wednesday, labs tested 39,919 samples for the virus and 3,446 were positive, a rate of 8.63%. 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, bringing its pandemic total to 738. It confirmed 259 more cases for a total of 65,334.

Several other West Michigan counties also recorded more deaths:

  • Berrien County: One more death for 252 total; 13,425 total confirmed cases since March 2020.
  • Branch County: One more death for 91 total; 4,200 total cases.
  • Calhoun County: Two more deaths for 258 total; 11,702 total cases.
  • Kalamazoo County: One more death for 325 total; 19,331 total cases.
  • Muskegon County: One more death for 327 total; 14,502 total cases.
  • Oceana County: One more death for 54 total; 2,537 total cases.
  • Osceola County: One more death for 28 total; 1,589 total cases.
  • Van Buren County: Two more deaths for 106 total; 6,400 total cases.

Wayne County, hit hardest by the virus, recorded 36 more deaths for a total of 4,466 and 621 more cases for a total of 146,470. Neighboring Oakland County has had 98,357 cases (325 more than the previous day) and 2,107 deaths (11 more). Macomb County has had 88,868 cases (336 more) and 2,178 deaths (20 more).

More than 7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Michigan. About 51% of the state’s population over the age of 16 has received at least one dose and about 40% has finished their immunization course.

Michigan has been seeing improving virus metrics: The average test positivity rate is near 12%, down about a percentage point in the last week, and case rates have been dropping for more than three weeks. Statewide hospitalizations are declining: Around 15% of all beds in the state are serving COVID-19 patients, down from a peak of around 20% two weeks ago.

Still, Michigan has the highest case rate and second highest number of cases of any state in the country, as well as the highest inpatient bed and ICU utilization of any state.

Effective Thursday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued some changes to its Gatherings and Mask order. Under the newest rules, masks are not required at outdoor gatherings of fewer than 100 people. People who are fully vaccinated and do not have asymptomatic will also not have to wear masks at indoor residential gatherings. Additionally, high school athletes will be exempt from routine testing if they are fully vaccinated and don’t have symptoms.

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