GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan confirmed nearly 3,900 more coronavirus cases in the last two days as the state’s outbreak trends up.
The state announced 3,881 new cases on Monday and said 29 more deaths associated with the virus had been recorded. That’s an average of 1,940 new cases and about 15 deaths each day.
The virus has now infected 161,907 people in Michigan since it was first detected in the state in March and been linked to 7,211 deaths.
The state updates information on outbreaks — defined as two or more cases outside a single household — within educational settings once per week on Mondays. Data released this week shows that overall, the outbreaks at K-12 schools continue be to quite small — none of those most recently added exceeded 10 cases.
Rockford High School and its Freshman Center currently have the largest ongoing outbreak among K-12 schools, with had 21 cases among students and staff members.
The state list confirms two cases among staff members at Libertas Christian School near Hudsonville. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health last week shut down that school, claiming it wasn’t enforcing proper coronavirus mitigation protocols. The school, which had already filed a lawsuit against state and county officials over coronavirus mandates, says the infected teachers did follow appropriate protocols and stressed that none of its students have contracted the virus.
While not yet on the state list, Kentwood Public Schools says there have been seven confirmed cases at East Kentwood High School and the Freshman Center and more than 120 people are in quarantine as a result. As a result, the Freshman Campus and 10-12 building will be closed for a week to be cleaned. During that time, ninth through 12th grade students will learn remotely.
Universities and colleges have seen larger numbers, though the rate of spread appears to be declining at at Michigan State University, which has seen the largest outbreak of any college in the state. Forty-two more cases associated with MSU have been reported since last week, bringing its total to 1,664.
The outbreak at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is not seeing the same trend. It added more than 250 cases in the last week to bring its total to 1,092.
The data released by the state Monday shows that Kent County alone confirmed 469 new cases of the virus over the two days, bringing its total to 13,269 since the start of the outbreak. The number of deaths stood at 181.
The following West Michigan counties saw additional deaths:
- Calhoun County: Two more deaths for a total of 67; total of 2,503 cases.
- Kalamazoo County: three more deaths for a total of 102; total of 3,891 cases.
- Mecosta County: One more death for a total of five; total of 482 cases.
- Montcalm County: One more death for total of 11; total of 558 cases.
- Muskegon County: One more death for a total of 82; total of 2,020 cases.
Family members confirm that a Montcalm Area ISD employee died Thursday of COVID-19, making for the second death of an educator in the county.
In Calhoun County, the jail is dealing with an outbreak that has infected 24 inmates, most of them immigrants. The Calhoun County Correctional Facility is a detention site for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema has contracted the virus. He is working from home for now.
Wayne County, initially Michigan’s coronavirus hotspot, saw five more deaths for a total of 2,880 and 348 more cases for a total of 36,720 since the start of the outbreak. Neighboring Oakland County has had 20,021 cases (379 in the last two days) and 1,184 deaths (no change). Macomb County has had 17,353 cases (319 more) and 1,036 deaths (one more).
THE STATE OF THE VIRUS
On Saturday, labs in Michigan tested 34,121 samples for the virus and 2,103 came back positive, a rate of 6.16%. On Sunday, 38,674 samples were tested and 2,470 came back positive, a rate of 6.39%.
The seven-day average of positive test rates has been climbing, surpassing 5%. For the bulk of August and September, the the rate was closer to 3%, the threshold that public health officials say shows community spread is controlled.
The positivity rate is just one piece of evidence showing Michigan is seeing coronavirus spread more quickly. Michigan’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun on Saturday called the state’s increase in infections “alarming.” In a release, she again urged everyone to wash their hands frequently, practice 6-foot social distancing, avoid large gatherings and wear a mask whenever in public.
The seven-day average of new cases per million people per day is significantly higher than it was at its last peak in April, with the highest rates in the Upper Peninsula, southwest Michigan and West Michigan.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise, having about tripled in the last month to 1,479 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients as of Monday. Spectrum Health says it now has a record 151 inpatients with the virus, the highest number it has seen yet.
The number of deaths per day is also on the rise, with the seven-day average now around than 20. It is still far below where it was in April, when it neared 160.
Michigan has been increasing how many tests it runs each day. On Monday, the Trump administration announced it was providing 3 million BinaxNOW rapid response tests to Michigan. The state will distribute those tests wherever it deems necessary, likely places like long-term care facilities, the state prison system, psychiatric hospitals, schools and emergency responder agencies.