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Michigan adds 1,738 cases, 41 deaths from COVID-19

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 1,738 new cases of the coronavirus and 41 deaths linked to COVID-19 on Tuesday as the state's metrics for tracking infections continued to trend in a positive direction.

The latest figures bring the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan to 540,115 and deaths to 13,865 since the virus was first detected in March, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Tuesday's tally was the lowest number of new cases since Oct. 21.

Pharmacist Brian Kiefer draws saline while preparing a dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, Calif. Mutations to the virus that causes COVID-19 are rapidly popping up and health officials say the pandemic could get worse unless people do more to curb cases.

Data on hospitalizations, testing and new cases all trended in hopeful directions last week as the state appears to be moving past a second wave that hit in late November. The percentage of COVID-19 tests bringing positive results dropped to 6.7%, down from 8.9% the week before.

The state also recorded 16,452 new cases last week, a decline from 21,955 new cases the week prior. At the end of November, the state established the weekly record of 50,892 cases.

As of Monday, the state reported 1,886 adults hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, down 45% from the total five weeks earlier.

The current phase allows 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, but many health departments and hospitals say they do not have enough vaccine to meet the demand. Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers and childcare providers also are 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.

"Please be patient, we do not have enough vaccines and it takes time to administer, but we are building quickly and it looks like we’re going to be coming into more vaccines soon,” Whitmer said Wednesday. “This is the greatest tool we have to end this pandemic.”

The state received requests for 444,306 doses of the vaccine, but only received an allocation of 258,100 doses this week from the federal government to allocate; 117,850 first doses and 140,250-second doses, said Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for the state health department.

John Baker, a 102-year-old World War II veteran born during the 1918 pandemic, receives the COVID-19 vaccination, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Novi.

Whitmer's administration also announced its "working plan" is to begin allowing indoor dining at restaurants and bars on Feb. 1.

The plan will include capacity limits and a curfew, and the "ultimate decision depends on COVID-19 data continuing to stabilize," according to a press release from Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services identified the state's first case of the new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7., on Saturday in an adult woman living in Washtenaw County.

The woman recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where the variant originated, according to an announcement from the department. The person's close contacts have been informed and are in quarantine.

► More: What we know about the COVID variant found in Michigan

The latest data

During the week of Jan. 9, Michigan dropped from the 20th-highest number of cases in the nation to the 24th-highest. The state continues to rank eighth-highest for the number of deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID data tracker.

Michigan ranks 33th in the nation for most hospitalizations and 14th for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to approve a requirement that people wear masks during indoor and outdoor gatherings as COVID-19 infections surge in the state.

In Michigan, 12.1% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, health officials said.

As of Monday, 2,114 adults were hospitalized statewide with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including 475 in critical care and 236 on ventilators, with ICU beds at 74% capacity, according to state data.

While Nevada, Alabama, Nevada, 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 or stability, according to the state's data.

Active cases remain most prevalent in Wayne County, with 62,936 cases and additional 27,563 cases in Detroit. Oakland County has 67,307 cases, and Macomb has 53,400.

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

Vaccination will take place in different phases that occur simultaneously, the state said.

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.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said the process will take several months to complete at the current rate, but the general public should prepare to receive the vaccine by late spring.

► More: What to know about getting vaccinated for COVID-19 in Michigan

“We are working hard to bring more vaccines into Michigan and identify additional locations for people who want to be vaccinated. Please don’t show up to any location without an appointment," she said.

The virus is blamed for more than 400,000 deaths and 24 million confirmed infections in the United States.

Officials are tracking at least 774 active outbreaks as of Thursday, a decline from 887 outbreaks last week. Of the outbreaks, 128 were reported the second week of January, including 37 at long-term care facilities.

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

The state reported three additional school outbreaks on Jan. 11, adding to a list of 72 school outbreaks.

The state considers 442,408 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

Staff Writer Craig Mauger contributed.