GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has confirmed another 7,458 cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number to more than 272,000 since the virus was first detected in the state in March.
The state also added 79 deaths linked to COVID-19 to its tally, bringing the total to 8,128. Twenty-four of the 79 deaths were discovered during a review of death certificates to find any that had not previously been reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Kent County alone confirmed 673 more cases for a total of 24,384 since the outbreak started in March. It also saw three more deaths for a total of 253.
Sixty-five COVID-19 associated deaths has been added to Kent County’s tally so far in November, more than the county saw in the previous four months combined and the highest figure for any single month since the outbreak began.
Several other West Michigan counties also confirmed additional deaths:
- Allegan County: Three more deaths for 17 total; 2,705 total cases in the last eight months.
- Berrien County: One more death for 99 total; 4,556 total cases.
- Branch County: One more death for 19 total; 1,553 total cases.
- Calhoun County: Two more deaths for 101 total; 4,404 total cases.
- Kalamazoo County: Three more deaths for 142 total; 6,489 total cases.
- Montcalm County: Two more deaths for 19 total; 1,234 total cases.
- Muskegon County: Ten more deaths for 121 total; 5,353 total cases.
- Ottawa County: Four more deaths for 100 total; 10,000 total cases.
The number of deaths in Newaygo County was revised down by one to nine. This has not been unusual as cases are double-checked and sometimes shifted between jurisdictions. Newaygo County has had 1,116 total cases since March.
Wayne County, which has been hit hardest by the virus but which is no longer the state’s hot spot, recorded eight more deaths for a total of 2,962 and confirmed 975 more cases for a total of 48,767 since March. Neighboring Oakland County has had 31,715 cases (941 more than the previous day) and 1,232 deaths (two more). Macomb County has had 27,636 cases (784 more) and 1,121 deaths (seven more).
On Monday, labs in Michigan tested 57,379 samples for the virus and 8,178 came back positive, a rate of 14.25%.
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 positive test percentage has been rising for weeks and is now the highest it has been since April 22, one of several metrics showing the virus is spreading more quickly. Its seven-day average is closing in on 13%, more than four times higher than the 3% public health officials say demonstrates community spread is controlled.
Other metrics showing negative trends include the number of new cases per million people per day, which is now well above the spring peak. West Michigan is seeing the worst rate of any region in the state, with more than 720 cases per million people per day. The Upper Peninsula’s rate is around 714, Saginaw’s about 571 and and Southwest Michigan’s about 568.
The average of daily deaths is seven times higher than it was in June.
Hospitalizations keep rising, with 3,732 inpatients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 as of Tuesday. As of Tuesday morning, Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health had 328 COVID-19 inpatients throughout its hospital system. North Ottawa Community Hospital in Grand Haven says it has hit capacity, a combination of more COVID-19 inpatients and more cases among staff members. Mercy Health Muskegon is opening an extra COVID-19 care unit to handle the influx of patients.
In an effort to cap the surge, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued several new restrictions starting Wednesday and lasting three weeks. Under the epidemic order, restaurants must halt dine-in services, movie theaters must close, high school sports are suspended, high schools and colleges will shift to remote learning, and social gatherings should be limited to no more than two households.
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency on Tuesday sent out a notice to anyone who may again be laid off that as they seek unemployment benefits they should reopen their previous claim rather than file a new one. More information on how to reopen a claim or file a new one can be found on the state’s website. The UIA added it has increased capacity in anticipation of more claims.
Both public health officials and the leaders of privately-owned hospitals have pleaded with the public to follow the new rules and keep up with coronavirus mitigation practices that have been encouraged for months: washing hands frequently, practicing 6-foot social distancing, avoiding gatherings and wearing a mask in public.
“…People need to understand how serious the situation is, and to stop doing things that spread the virus right now,” Mid-Michigan District Health Department Health Officer Marcus Cheatham wrote in an email to News 8. “It is really time for people to change their plans now to reduce any unnecessary gathering.”
“I understand that encouraging people to do the right thing is what some would prefer. How’s that working so far? Not so well,” Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health, which owns Mercy Health, told News 8 Monday. “We need stronger restrictions in order to really guide us to get this curve bent before we hit the holidays.”