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At 645, Mich. coronavirus case increase lowest in 17 days, but caution urged

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Ninety-five additional people have died since Saturday after being diagnosed with coronavirus and another 645 have tested positive for the virus. But the number of cases is the smallest increase in 17 days, and the number of deaths is the smallest increase in deaths in a week. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, however, warned against optimism on Sunday, noting the department "cannot say if this represents a true decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths in our state."

The decrease in confirmed cases could be due to a reduction in testing because of the holiday weekend. Additionally, prior daily testing reports have shown dips in confirmed cases ranging from 3% to 25%.

"Single-day fluctuations in the number of confirmed cases may not be significant, as a number of external factors can affect data reporting," the department said in a statement.

The additional cases bring the coronavirus total to 24,638 and total deaths statewide to 1,487. 

The Metro Detroit counties of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne remain the hardest hit by the virus with 78% of cases centered there and 84% of deaths among residents in those counties. 

As of Saturday, the state reported that 433 people had recovered from the virus. A person is considered recovered from the virus if they've lived 30 days past their onset of symptoms. 

Those who have died so far in Michigan have ranged between 20 and 107 years old, with the average age just over 73. About 57% of those who have died have been men and 43% women. 

Of the confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan so far, 33% have been among African Americans and 27% among whites. Among the deceased, 40% have been black, 36% white and 20% "unknown."

The new data comes as Republican legislative leaders push for a reopening of some businesses that are able to safely and with less of a focus on the essential vs. non-essential criteria Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has used to determine business closures. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that parts of the U.S. might be ready in May to begin easing up on some restrictions, but he warned it might be a "rolling re-entry" based on regional outbreak data and warned against a "light switch" approach. 

“We know that there will be people who will be getting infected; that is just reality," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. "The critical issue is to be able to in real-time identify, isolate and contact-trace.”

Whitmer's office on Sunday morning pushed back against the idea of a premature transition, noting more than 1,300 people had died from the virus. 

"The governor is doing everything she can to protect public health and safety," Brown said. "We’re going to get through this, but the best thing we can do right now is stay home and stay safe to save lives. That remains the priority.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com