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Michigan adds 10 deaths, 374 cases due to COVID-19; system backup cited

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Michigan added 374 cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths related to the virus on Friday, but state health officials noted reporting glitches likely will result in higher counts in the coming days. 

The officials said Friday that the number of new daily cases is less than expected "due to a recent issue with the reporting of electronic lab results."

Nurse Emi Jaffe, 32, of Oak Park draws a blood sample from a volunteer to be tested for coronavirus-fighting antibodies.

A large number of messages from labs were "improperly formatted," which temporarily blocked some valid results from being processed and entered into the reporting system, the state said. 

"This issue is currently being fixed," the state COVID-19 the health department results site notes. "As the valid results enter the system over the next day or two, there will likely be higher-than-expected numbers of daily case counts."

Friday's new additions brings the state's total number of cases to 95,071 and total number of deaths to 6,378. 

With probable cases included, Michigan has 104,618 cases and 6,634 deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

In the past seven days, the state added 105 deaths and 4,078 cases due to the virus.

Of those infected, the statewide fatality rate has dropped from 9.5% in June to 6.7% as of Friday. The infection rate has dropped from 7.5% at the start of August.

Nearly 21,100 tests were completed on Thursday in the state and 1,125 returned positive, the state said. In comparison, more than 30,000 tests had been completed each day for the past week with a 4% infection rate. The state's positivity rate peaked on March 15, with 65% of tests returning positive.

As of Thursday, 646 Michigan residents were hospital inpatients with the virus, and 173 are on ventilators in intensive care units, the state recorded.

There have been 14 coronavirus outbreaks in southern and eastern Michigan, the state health department confirmed on Thursday.

Through Aug. 6, the 14 outbreaks at undisclosed schools and districts were reported in just two weeks. 

However, business groups have urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to consider re-opening gyms, bowling alleys, theaters and other businesses that have remained closed. 

In a letter on Thursday to Whitmer, the businesses who are facing severe financial issues because of the closure asked the governor to meet with the groups to discuss how to safely reopen and consider property tax deferrals for the businesses. 

On Friday, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Whitmer's emergency unilateral actions to combat COVID-19, denying a legal challenge brought by the GOP-controlled state Legislature.

The 2-1 decision comes a day after a group of Michigan public health experts advised that Whitmer keep her unilateral powers, saying the "health emergency" presented by the virus will continue until there's a vaccine.