Michigan's COVID-19 death toll reaches 4,700, but positive trends continue

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Despite expanded testing, Michigan reported its fifth straight day Wednesday with fewer than 500 new confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The state disclosed 370 new cases and 40 new deaths linked to the virus in its daily report Wednesday, pushing the overall totals to 48,391 cases and 4,714 deaths, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Through Monday — the most recent day for which data was available — the state had reported 11 straight days with less than 10% of its COVID-19 tests returning positive results.

A sign at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing location in Lansing tells drivers to "proceed ahead." No testing appeared to be occurring at the site on Tuesday morning, April 14, 2020.

The state has expanded testing in recent weeks, but the positive percentage of tests had previously been above 10% since March 12, two days after Michigan confirmed its first cases.

The new numbers came a day before a protest against stay-at-home restrictions is planned for Thursday at the Michigan Capitol. During an appearance on "The View" Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the events make "it that much more precarious for us to try to reengage our economy."

Still, Whitmer touted positive trends in COVID-19 tracking data in Michigan and said "the vast majority of people" are "doing the right thing."

"What we're doing is working," Whitmer said. "We have seen our trajectory drop. We have seen our ability to test ramp up. And the number of positives continue to decline."

Last week, the state reported 3,549 new cases of the novel coronavirus, a 45% decrease from the 6,412 new cases reported two weeks earlier, according to state data.

Michigan continued Wednesday to rank seventh nationally for the number cases and fourth for the number of deaths, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University.

As of Friday, 22,686 Michigan residents were considered "recovered" from COVID-19, meaning they were still alive 30 days after the onset of illness. The Department of Health and Human Services updates the recovery figure once a week.