Michigan has largest weekly COVID-19 case total as death count surpasses 7K

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 1,791 new COVID-19 cases and 23 more deaths on Saturday, making the week the state's biggest surge of positive cases during the pandemic. 

The additions bring the state's total number of cases to 144,897 and total deaths to 7,010. Of the deaths reported on Saturday, 15 were added from a review of vital records.

In the past week, Michigan has had 10,241 confirmed cases of the virus. The seven-day average for daily new cases now stands at 1,463. The previous highest seven-day average was April 5-11, when it was 1,395. That week had 9,768 confirmed cases.

The daily increases also are putting October on pace to generate Michigan's biggest month for new cases since April, when the virus peaked in the state. The daily average for new cases has increased each month since June. 

Michigan set a new daily record for reported coronavirus cases with 2,030 revealed Thursday amid fears of a potential second wave and questions of how state officials will respond. The state also added more than 2,000 cases on Friday.

While some of the COVID-19 cases disclosed Thursday were from the prior day and their reporting had been delayed because of a processing problem, the seven-day average for new cases in Michigan reached its highest point since early April.

Deaths and hospitalizations linked to the virus are also trending upward but remain well below where they were during the initial COVID-19 peak here in the spring.

"You may not see yet the rise in hospitalizations and deaths because it depends a lot on the age group getting it," said Nigel Paneth, a professor of epidemiology at Michigan State University. "But it doesn’t stay that way.

"(Infected people) go to the store, next thing you know, some older person gets infected — and it doesn’t have to be an older person. Young people die. It happens."

Before this week, Michigan hadn't experienced a week with at least two days when 30 or more new deaths were reported since early June. Thirty deaths were revealed on Tuesday.

Hospitalizations tied to the virus have also been on the rise. Health care facilities are concerned about the impact of the flu and the coronavirus potentially both sickening people and testing medical capacity.

As of Thursday, 1,017 adults were hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan, an 80% increase from the 564 hospitalizations reported a month earlier.

As of last week, 104,271 people were considered "recovered."

State health officials were aware of a "slowdown" in laboratory processing that began on Tuesday, delaying the processing of some entries into the state's disease surveillance system, said Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

As a result, Thursday's report featured some data that would have normally been included Wednesday, Sutfin said.

"We know case numbers are going up across the state, which is why we continue to urge all Michiganders to take precautions against COVID-19, including wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and staying home if they are ill," Sutfin said.

The number of virus outbreaks was also updated Monday to include those reported as of Oct. 8.

Michigan's schools have recorded 26 new outbreaks as of Monday. Of the outbreaks, 18 were at K-12 schools. See an updated list of school outbreaks online.

Overall across the state, Michigan has 123 outbreaks, which are defined as two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household.