Michigan adds 799 cases, 21 deaths linked to COVID-19

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 799 cases and 21 deaths linked to COVID-19 Saturday.

Of the deaths, seven were identified during a delayed records review, the state said.

Saturday's additions bring the state's total number of cases to 101,478 and the death toll to 6,467. 

With probable cases included, Michigan has 111,136 cases and 6,712 deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

The virus has since moved across the state, reaching from bustling Metro Detroit to the most western portions of the rural Upper Peninsula. Outbreaks have hit college towns and nursing homes. The spread could have been limited if residents more closely followed the guidance of health officials, medical experts said this week.

Health officials have emphasized the continued threat of the virus this fall as temperatures drop, people move more gatherings indoors and schools reopen.

Dr. Teena Chopra, an infectious disease professor at Wayne State University, said she's still seeing patients who are battling the ravaging effects of COVID-19, which often attacks the lungs and damages kidneys. She referenced one patient in their 40s and another in their 50s who have had long stays in the intensive care unit.

"This virus is very unforgiving," she said.

Since March 10, Michigan has reported more than 6,445 deaths linked to COVID-19. But the spread of the virus has resulted in an economic recession as government restrictions forced businesses to close and laid-off employees to file record unemployment claims.

While hospitalizations and deaths have dropped in recent months, the virus is still moving across Michigan as hundreds of new cases are confirmed each day. One health official described it as a slowly spreading wave.

It's hit large cities such as Detroit, which was viewed as the early epicenter, and rural communities like Oceana County, a 26,000-person area along Lake Michigan that has the highest number of cases per 1,000 residents.

Michigan is doing "far better" than other states on new COVID-19 new cases and deaths, Whitmer said in a Friday statement.

"Michigan has shown the rest of the country what it means to take aggressive action against COVID-19, but our work is far from over. The COVID-19 pandemic is still a very real threat to our families, our brave frontline workers, and our economy."

Whitmer announced Michigan's first cases of the coronavirus on March 10, the night of the state's presidential primary election.

"The coronavirus has the potential to impact our lives in nearly every aspect of our lives," the governor said on March 10, speaking from Michigan State Police headquarters.

The state's first cases were in Oakland and Wayne counties, Michigan's two largest counties and the ones that were hit hardest by the virus in the early weeks of its spread.

As of April 10 — a month after the first cases were announced — 79% of Michigan's 22,783 cases and 85% of the 1,281 deaths were in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne counties.

But the virus has since hit regions outside of Metro Detroit. Through this week, 45% of the state's cases were outside of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties with counties in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula experiencing among the largest rates of growth compared to population.

There have been outbreaks tied to farms, nursing homes and bars, like Harper's near Michigan State University in Ingham County, to which health officials linked about 200 COVID-19 cases in July.

Of those infected, the statewide fatality rate has dropped from 9.5% in June to 6.4% as of Saturday. The infection rate has dropped from 7.5% at the start of August.

Nearly 33,300 tests were completed on Friday, the last day that testing was reported in Michigan, and 1,700 returned positive, the state said. The state's positivity rate peaked on March 15, with 65% of tests returning positive.

In Detroit, the state's hardest-hit city, the infection rate has dropped to 1%, officials say. The city has 13,625 cases and 1,511 deaths from the virus as of Saturday.

As of Saturday, 610 Michigan residents were hospital inpatients with the virus, and 93 were on ventilators in intensive care units.

Of the 70 outbreaks in the last two weeks, 14 have been at long-term care facilities. Additionally, social gatherings including birthday parties, graduations, funerals and weddings have contributed to 11 outbreaks, according to the state.

In long-term care facilities, 8,152 residents and 4,324 staff members have confirmed cases. More than 6,300 are recovering. Since March, 2,103 residents and 21 staff members have died from the virus.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_