Michigan adds 7,205 cases, 90 deaths linked to COVID-19

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan confirmed 7,205 new cases and 90 more deaths linked to COVID-19 on Monday, including cases from Sunday.

The latest figures bring the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan to 437,985 and deaths to 10,752 since the virus was first detected in March, according to tracking by the state Department of Health and Human Services. 

The state recorded 808 deaths last week, following a daily record of 206 deaths set on Saturday.

State officials have said they expect the number of fatalities to increase during the holiday season and are urging residents to avoid social gatherings to stem the spread of infection.

Last week, Michigan recorded 30,587 new cases, a decline from 45,015 cases from the previous week. At the end of November, the state had established the weekly record of 50,892 cases.

During the first week of December, Michigan recorded the seventh-highest number of cases and fourth-highest number of deaths in the nation, according to the CDC's COVID data tracker.

Case rates have decreased from last week; however, positivity — an average of 14.4% of diagnostic COVID tests run in the state returning positive — has plateaued for the past three weeks. A positivity rate above 3% is concerning to public health officials.

Michigan ranks sixth in the nation for most hospitalizations and seventh for the most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

As of Saturday, 3,739 adults were hospitalized statewide with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including 860 in critical care and 514 on ventilators, with ICU beds at 81% capacity, according to state data. That's compared to about 2,936 COVID inpatients hospitalized a month ago, including 595 in the ICU.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week ordered U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff for 10 days — representing one day per 1,000 deaths — through Dec. 18 to honor and mourn those who have lost their lives due to the virus.  

She also signed an executive order Thursday to create a bipartisan commission aimed at raising awareness about the soon-to-arrive COVID-19 vaccine.

The nation is "on the brink of great breakthroughs" when it comes to an effective vaccine for COVID-19, Whitmer said.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said Thursday that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is "actively preparing" to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine when one is approved.

Michigan expects to receive about 84,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in its first allocation.

Another vaccine from Moderna could receive federal approval later this month. Michigan expects to get about 173,000 doses of that vaccine in its first shipment, Khaldun said, citing data from the federal government.

The first priorities for vaccination in Michigan will be front-line healthcare workers and people living and working in long-term care facilities, Khaldun said.

"We hope that by late spring, we will be able to offer the vaccine to the general public," Khaldun said. "It is important that every adult in this state start making plans for getting the vaccine."

The virus is blamed for more than 299,000 deaths and almost 16 million confirmed infections in the United States.

The state was tracking at least 1,080 active outbreaks as of Dec. 10. Top categories for outbreaks continue to be long-term care facilities, including nursing homes as well as manufacturing and construction sites, retail and schools.

The state recorded 25 additional school outbreaks Monday, adding to a list of 240 school outbreaks.

Whitmer extended restrictions through Dec. 20, limiting gatherings at high schools, colleges and restaurants to combat what she described as the "worst moment" yet in the pandemic.

The policies temporarily halt in-person instruction at high schools and colleges, indoor dine-in service at restaurants and bars, and high school athletics as well as close some businesses, including movie theaters, bowling alleys and casinos.

The state considers 236,369 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.