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Michigan adds 1,994 cases, 100 deaths from COVID-19

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan on Tuesday added 1,994 new cases of the coronavirus and 100 deaths linked to COVID-19.

The latest figures bring the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan to 525,612 and deaths to 13,501 since the virus was first detected in March, according to tracking by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Michigan's 91,000 nursing home workers and patients have top priority to receive the potentially life-saving inoculations.

The state recorded 756 deaths from the virus last week, an increase from 569 deaths the previous week. The weekly record of 808 deaths was recorded in mid-December.

The state also recorded 21,455 new cases last week, an increase from 19,858 cases the previous week. At the end of November, the state established the weekly record of 50,892 cases.

The state has opened up vaccination opportunities to all Michigan residents over the age of 65 and to front-line workers and teachers, but many health departments and hospitals say they are not equipped to meet the demand.

For subscribers: Vaccine demand in Michigan is outpacing supplies

The new phase will allow for the 65 and older age group to receive a vaccine as well as front-line workers such as first responders, some state and federal workers and jail and prison staff. Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers and childcare providers also will be eligible for vaccinations. 

Vaccines continue to be distributed to health care workers and nursing home residents. Supplies are limited and are running out within seven days of Michigan receiving them, and "that is a good thing," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said last week.

Whitmer asked the federal government for permission on Monday for the state to make a one-time purchase of up to 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine directly from Pfizer Inc.

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will release additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to states across the nation as it directs its agencies to no longer hold back the second dose of the two-shot vaccines and open vaccination to those 65 or older. 

With more than 2.5 million Michigan residents now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, there isn't enough available to vaccinate everyone who qualifies, state health officials said Tuesday.

Beaumont Health, the state's largest hospital system, said Monday it tripled its server capacity over the weekend after its appointment system crashed Friday due to an overwhelming demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

On a typical day, Beaumont processes 900 online appointments, and on Friday, 25,000 people tried to register for an appointment. Beaumont said it now has the capacity to vaccinate more than 3,200 people each day and "we plan to expand to additional sites soon," officials said.

Coronavirus virus testing at the North entrance of Beaumont hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan on March 31, 2020.

The latest data

During the week of Jan. 2, Michigan dropped from the 19-highest number of cases to the 20th-highest in the nation. The state ranks eighth-highest for the number of deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID data tracker.

Michigan ranks 32th in the nation for most hospitalizations and 12th for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

In Michigan, 12.6% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, a decrease from 19%, health officials said.

As of Monday, 2,373 adults were hospitalized statewide with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including 485 in critical care and 272 on ventilators, with ICU beds at 74% capacity, according to state data.

While Nevada, Alabama, California, and Georgia have the highest rates of hospitalizations, the Midwest states including Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan are showing a slow continuous decline, according to the state's data.

Last week, Michigan reported that 9.5% of its coronavirus tests brought positive results, the first week in a month that the rate increased.

Cases are plateauing over the past week after declining for 46 days. Still, the case rates are more than twice the rate they were at the beginning of October, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said Friday.

Khaldun said the numbers are concerning as testing has declined in the state and there could still be a surge from holiday travel. A positivity rate above 3% is concerning to public health officials.

Active cases remain most prevalent in Wayne County, with 61,487 cases and additional 28,864 cases in Detroit. Oakland County has 65,546 cases, and Macomb has 52,367.

The state's case tracker also noted Genesse, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties have high case rates.

Vaccines rolled out in phases

The vaccines will be rolled out in phases. The first priorities for vaccination in Michigan will be frontline 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.

According to the CDC’s vaccine tracker, 765,900 does have distributed to Michigan and 222,379 does have been administered as of Monday.

Whitmer has extended indoor dining restrictions through Friday while allowing reopening of casinos, bowling alleys, stadiums and permitting in-person learning at Michigan high schools as soon as Monday with restrictions. Capacity will be capped at 100 people for businesses, food and drink concessions must remain closed and social distancing must be observed.

The virus is blamed for more than 376,000 deaths and 22 million confirmed infections in the United States.

Officials are tracking at least 887 active outbreaks as of Monday, a decline from 1,040 outbreaks two weeks prior. Of the outbreaks, 142 were reported the first week of January, including 47 at long-term care facilities.

Top categories for outbreaks continue to be manufacturing and construction sites, healthcare, retail, schools and social gatherings.

The state recorded three additional school outbreaks Monday, adding to a list of 72 school outbreaks.

The state considers 415,079 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_