Michigan surpasses 150,000 cases, adds 33 more deaths from COVID-19

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 1,597 new COVID-19 cases and 33 more deaths Wednesday.

The additions bring the state's total number of cases to 150,989 and total deaths to 7,086.

The state now has 167,872 probable and confirmed cases and 7,418 confirmed and probable deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"We are now at our peak when it comes to daily new cases," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during her Wednesday COVID-19 response update. "This peak is higher than what we saw in April."

A rally attendee holds a mask and gets their temperature checked by a volunteer.

She added that cases spiked in the first week of October after the Michigan Supreme Court issued their ruling that the governor violated her constitutional authority by continuing to issue orders to combat COVID-19 without the approval of state lawmakers.

Local health departments are investigating 393 outbreaks, compared to 123 from earlier in the month.

In the last 30 days, there have been nearly 30,000 positive cases in Michigan, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's Chief Medical Executive. With the state's contract tracing system, officials were able to identify 35,000 more symptomatic individuals who were in contact.

"Top categories for outbreaks remain long-term care facilities, educational settings and social gatherings," Khaldun said Wednesday. "We're also seeing many tied to religious gatherings. We now know of 18 new and ongoing outbreaks that local health departments are investigating."

► More: Whitmer, Khaldun note uptick in COVID outbreaks related to religious services

Last week saw the state's biggest surge of positive cases during the pandemic when Michigan had 10,241 confirmed cases of the virus. 

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.

As of Thursday, 1,064 adults were hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan, an 80% increase from the 564 hospitalizations reported a month earlier.

Long term healthcare facilities continue to face consistent hurdles. As of Tuesday, 9,104 residents have confirmed cases, 2,217 resident deaths. While deaths have slowed over the past two months, there has been an uptick of staff members infected: 5,384 compared to 4,100 in August.

The Michigan health department on Wednesday issued an order allowing indoor visitation by appointment at long-term care facilities if a facility has had no new cases within 14 days and if COVID-19 prevalence in a county in which a facility is located falls within permissible boundaries. 

Under state guidelines, more than 30 counties would still be barred from indoor visitations because of their ranking on the MI Safe Start Map. They include Washtenaw and Kent counties, some mid-Michigan counties and most of the counties in the Upper Peninsula. Visits would be allowed in Metro Detroit but would be required to be tested for COVID-19 beforehand under the new state rules.

Whitmer reminded Michigan masks are required statewide outside of residential areas. 

"Our numbers are climbing. We need to double down on wearing masks and maintain social distancing," Whitmer said, adding there won't be an available vaccine in several months. "... We know that more people will get sick, hospitalized and sadly, more people will lose their battle with COVID-19."

As of Saturday, 109,539 people were considered "recovered."

Michigan's schools have recorded 28 new outbreaks as of Monday. Of the outbreaks, 25 were at K-12 schools. See an updated list of school outbreaks online.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_