Michigan adds 4,180 cases, 66 more deaths linked to COVID
Michigan on Friday confirmed 4,180 new cases and 66 more deaths linked to COVID-19.
The latest figures bring the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan to 454,956 and deaths to 11,274 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.
Cases continue to decrease for the third straight week. So far this week, the state has recorded 24,176 new cases and 612 deaths.
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 week of Dec. 12, Michigan dropped from the seventh-highest number of cases to the 13th-highest in the nation. The state ranks as the fifth-highest for the number of deaths, according to the CDC's COVID data tracker.
Michigan ranks 12th in the nation for most hospitalizations and eighth for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.
As of Wednesday, 3,547 adults were hospitalized statewide with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including 818 in critical care and 476 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 is urging residents not to travel for the holidays as case rates decline and vaccines begin to roll out.
On Friday, she extended indoor dining restrictions through Jan. 15 while allowing reopening of casinos, bowling alleys, stadiums and allowing in-person learning at Michigan high schools as soon as Monday with restrictions. Their capacity will be capped at 100 people, food and drink concessions must remain closed and social distancing must be observed.
“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and because of our collective hard work, we are now able to begin the steps to carefully lift some of the protocols we have in place,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am encouraged by the progress we have made since early November, and will continue to monitor the data closely during and after the holidays."
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said Friday that she's cautiously optimistic as the state's positivity rates have declined from 14% to 12.3% over the past seven days. A positivity rate above 3% is concerning to public health officials.
Across the state, the case rate has dropped from 739 cases per million people per day on Nov. 14 to 439 cases per million people per day currently and the proportion of hospital beds being used for COVID-19 patients dropped to 17.3%, down from a peak of 20.1% Dec. 1.
The number of deaths remains "deeply concerning," with about 100 per day, Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon said. Deaths are often a "lagging indicator" that decrease some weeks after cases decrease, he said.
The Moderna vaccine uses the same technology as Pfizer-BioNTech's and showed similarly strong protection against COVID-19 but is easier to handle because it does not need to be kept in the deep freeze at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
The vaccines will be rolled out in phases. 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 the general public should prepare to receive the vaccine by late spring.
Attorney General Dana Nessel said Tuesday the public should be beware of COVID-19 vaccine scams. Her office has been made aware of retailers selling fake tests and services that promise to cure, treat or prevent the virus, she said.
"Some examples of common scams are retailers who are promising to get the vaccine quickly; others with forms of treatment including pills, herbal teas, or essential oils; personal testimonials; social media messages, texts and emails qualifying for clinical trials," Nessel said. "They'll ask you for money and personal information upfront and include a (malware virus) link for you to download."
The virus is blamed for more than 307,000 deaths and almost 17.2 million confirmed infections in the United States.
The number of active outbreaks is down 2% from last week, the state said. Officials were 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.
The state considers 236,369 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.