Lansing — The number of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan neared 4,400 Friday, but the number of new deaths and cases remained lower than past weeks.

The overall number of coronavirus-linked deaths in the state was at 4,393 with 46,326 confirmed cases, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

However, the state added only 50 new deaths and 680 new cases Friday, the sixth straight day with fewer than 100 new deaths reported and the ninth straight day with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

"Overall, as a state, we look pretty flat, which is better than up," said Dr. Emily Martin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan.

But Martin also cautioned that the novel coronavirus outbreak is "highly regional" in Michigan with differences in how the virus is spreading across the state.

The new figures came a day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unveiled a six-phase plan for reopening Michigan's economy that relies on case and death trends, testing results and hospital capacity to make decisions on lifting restrictions.

The state is currently in the third phase of the plan called "flattening," which bars public gatherings and allows only specified lower-risk businesses with strict workplace safety measures to reopen.

To get to the next phase of lifted restrictions called "improving," the state needs to see cases and deaths decline "more sharply," the percent of positive tests decrease, the health care system capacity strengthen and robust testing and containment protocols.

Newly released testing data showed more COVID-19 tests happened Wednesday in Michigan than any day before with 13,530 tests. Eight percent of the tests came back positive.

One month earlier, on April 6, the state reported 4,799 tests happening with 41% being positive.

In the last seven days, the state reported only 3,970 new COVID-19 cases, a 30% decrease from the seven prior days.

Likewise, the state reported 527 new deaths in the last seven days, a 32% decrease from the seven prior days.

As of last Friday, 15,659 people in Michigan had recovered from the disease, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. That number, which is updated once a week, represents people who were still alive 30 days after their onset of illness.

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