Michigan COVID-19 case total nears 50,000, but growth slows in many counties
Lansing — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan jumped by 1,191 Thursday to 49,582 as the state reported "backlogged" lab results and increased testing at correctional facilities.
However, the state's new tracking shows that the tally of cases in 26 Michigan counties has been flat in the last seven days. Four of the 26 counties continue to have zero cases.
The 1,191 total for new cases reported Thursday was the highest daily increase statewide since April 24.
The new cases included some from commercial labs Garcia, a lab with significant presence in Michigan’s correctional facilities, Orchard Technology and P4, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
"Results from these labs were being entered manually, which led to a backlog," the department's release said.
The state reported 73 new deaths Thursday. Of those, 35 were identified through a records review of death certificates, according to the department. The state's overall death toll has reached 4,787.
In other data released Thursday, Michigan reported its 12th straight day with less than 10% of COVID-19 tests here returning positive results. On Tuesday — the most recent day for which data was available — there were 14,242 tests performed and 867 positives or 6.1%, the lowest percentage of positives reported since March 12, two days after Michigan confirmed its first case.
On Wednesday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan's chief medical executive, said the rate of cases statewide is declining, but not all regions of the state are experiencing the same decline.
There are COVID-19 "clusters" under investigation in multiple parts of the state, Khaldun added.
Statewide, the counties with at least 100 confirmed cases that have seen the largest rates of increase since May 7 are primarily in West Michigan: Ottawa, Van Buren, Allegan and Berrien.
Of the 79 counties with at least one confirmed case, confirmed cases grew by less than 10% in the last seven days in 41 of them.
In the Upper Peninsula, where there are 15 counties, the overall case total decreased from 98 on May 7 to 97 Thursday. The state's data is provisional and subject to change.
Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties all saw less than 10% growth in cases during the past seven days. Still, 66% of the state's cases are in Metro Detroit, a proportion that has fallen from about 80% in early April.
On Wednesday, Khaldun touted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's efforts to combat the virus, including measures like the stay-at-home order, first issued on March 23. Without the measures, Michigan would have experienced 32,000 more cases and more than 3,400 more deaths, Khaldun said.
"This means that our efforts are working," she said. "People who have adhered to the governor's Stay Home, Stay Safe order and social distancing measures have saved lives."
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.