GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 9,000 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Michigan in the two days since data was last released, the state announced Monday.
With 9,010 more cases, an average of 4,505 each of the two days, the virus has now infected 216,804 people in Michigan since it was first detected in the state in March.
The state also recorded 62 more deaths linked to the virus over the two days, bringing Michigan’s total to 7,640.
On Saturday, labs in Michigan tested 39,918 samples for the virus and 4,506 came back positive, a rate of 11.29%. On Sunday, 47,082 samples were tested and 5,525 were positive, a rate of 11.73%.
“The reality is it’s not done with us and we’re entering a very dangerous time of the year,” Kent County Health Department Administrative Health Officer Adam London told News 8 Monday. “All the factors are in the virus’s favor right now and as we enter the holidays and colder weather, if people don’t take this seriously, we are going to see these numbers continue to increase and sadly we’re going to lose a lot of our neighbors if people don’t take it very seriously right now.”
‘A VERY CONCERNING POSITION’
Kent County alone saw 10 deaths over the two days, bringing its total to 216. It also added 981 new cases, bringing the total to 18,946 in the last eight months.
“We are in a very delicate position. We are in a very concerning position,” London said. “The number of new cases are increasing at a very dramatic rate. A month ago, we were seeing 30 to 50 cases per day. Now we’re seeing 300 to 500, even more new cases per day. And we’ve also seen the number of deaths increase pretty significantly, as well, where now we’re seeing four or five deaths every day.”
Several other West Michigan counties also recorded additional deaths:
- Allegan County: One more death for nine total; 1,906 total cases since the start of the outbreak.
- Calhoun County: Four more deaths for 82 total; 3,650 total cases.
- Kalamazoo County: Two more deaths for 126 total; 5,365 total cases.
- Mecosta County: One more death for five total; 750 total cases.
- Newaygo County: One more death for seven total; 903 total cases.
- Ottawa County: Two more deaths for 84 total; 7,442 total cases.
- Van Buren County: One more death for 20 total; 1,502 total cases.
There 13 more deaths in Wayne County, which has been hit hardest by the virus with 2,921 now dead. The county also added 1,554 cases over the two days for a total of 42,583 since March. Oakland County has had 25,846 confirmed cases (982 more in the last two days) and 1,204 deaths (one more). Macomb County has had 22,236 cases (815 more) and 1,072 deaths (one more).
The number of outbreaks at schools, college and universities continues to grow, with the largest figures still at colleges and universities, a state list updated Monday shows.
With 33 people infected, Rockford Public School’s outbreak is the largest at any K-12 district in the state. Additionally, Kent County currently has 18 outbreaks at K-12 schools, more than any other county in the state. There are also outbreaks at colleges in the county, including Aquinas, Calvin, Cornerstone, Davenport and Kuyper.
Citing a virus cases and linked quarantines by staff and students, Grant Public Schools in Newaygo County announced Monday that its middle school would remain virtual until Nov. 18. The district has seen 10 cases among student and staff, according to the state data.
LONDON: ACT NOW TO ‘ROPE IT BACK IN’
Michigan’s coronavirus cases are surging, with several metrics demonstrating the worsening outbreak. The rate of new cases per million people per day has been increasing since early September. The seven-day average of the positive test rate is now 9.5%, the worst it has been since early May.
In Ottawa County, health department deputy health administrator Marcia Mansaray said, test positivity is now above 12%. At its lowest power in the summer, it was below 2%.
“When we’re under 3%, we feel like we’ve got a good handle on spread and we can keep it controlled. Our health systems not going to get overloaded, the public health system is not overloaded and transmission is at a controlled level,” Mansaray explained. “When you get above 10%, that’s really scary.”
She explained that a rising positivity rate even as the number of tests being run each day increases demonstrates that the spread of the virus is accelerating.
“If COVID is not spreading in an increasing amount, we would expect to see more negatives,” Mansaray said. “We would not expect the positive (test rate) to go up. If anything, we might expect it to go down if we really weren’t having high transmission. When we have testing going up and positivity going up, then we’re concerned…”
Also worsening statewide are hospitalization numbers, which have been climbing fairly steadily since mid-September. As of Monday, 2,800 inpatients were suspected or confirmed to have the virus.
Public health officials say they expect to see deaths climb more quickly in the weeks after the increase in cases and hospitalization.
“This is about the last chance we have to really set this curve going into the winter. If we don’t take action right now then we’re in for a very difficult few months coming up,” London, the health officer in Kent County, said.
“And it’s not a hoax,” he added. “It’s not the apocalypse either, but it is a thing. It’s a real thing and it’s a thing that’s going to continue to challenge our places of work, our schools, our hospitals. If we want to see the quality of life that we desire continue, we’ve all, every one of us, have got to do our part right now to rope it back in and get it under control.”
People can help spread the slow of the virus by washing their hands frequently, practicing 6-foot social distancing, avoiding gatherings and wearing a mask. The state has also rolled out a new app to alert you if you could have been exposed to the virus.
The app could help with contact tracing, which Mansaray is becoming more of a challenge due to the sheer volume of cases.
“A second challenge with it is an understandable discomfort in admitting that we did something that we know we shouldn’t have done,” Mansaray continued. “And I understand that, but this is the time for us all to say, you know what, no shame, no guilt. We just need to be honest if we want to fight this virus. It’s about us against the virus. It’s not us against each other.”
She explained case information is confidential.
London also urged people to get their influenza vaccine, with the goal of limiting flu infections this year and freeing hospital space to deal with COVID-19 cases.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has it, health officials want you to get tested. You can find a testing site near you at Michigan.gov/coronavirustest. The Michigan National Guard will also be helping with a free testing clinic Tuesday in Zeeland. Testing will be available from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Zeeland City Fire/Rescue, 29 W. Main Ave.
—News 8’s Lynsey Mukomel contributed to this report.