Michigan adds 1,681 cases, 6 deaths from COVID-19
Michigan on Wednesday added 1,681 new cases of the coronavirus and six deaths, the lowest number of daily deaths since Sept. 18.
The latest figures bring the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan to 554,237 and deaths to 14,411 since the virus was first detected in March, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The state recorded 12,535 new cases and 487 deaths last week, leveling from 16,452 new cases and 430 deaths the week prior.
At the end of November, the state established the weekly record of 50,892 cases. The weekly record of 808 deaths was recorded in mid-December.
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 6.2%, down from 6.7% the week before.
Indoor dining at restaurants and bars in Michigan will resume on Feb. 1, 75 days after it was suspended, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday morning.
Under a new epidemic order that will last from Feb. 1-21, restaurants and bars will be allowed to offer indoor dining at 25% capacity with up to 100 people, and they must close by 10 p.m. each night. Tables must also be 6 feet apart with no more than six people per table.
The latest data
During the week of Jan. 16, Michigan flipped from the 24th-highest number of cases in the nation to the 23th-highest. The state dropped from having the eighth-highest death rate to the 14th-highest, according to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID data tracker.
Michigan ranks 34th in the nation for most hospitalizations and 16th for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.
In Michigan, 9.2% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, health officials said.
As of Wednesday, the state reported 1,570 adults hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 350 in critical care and 202 on ventilators, with ICU beds at 76% capacity, according to state data.
Across states, 46 states are seeing significate outbreaks. States with the most rapid one-week growth in cases include Virginia, Maine, Washington, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
While Arizona, Nevada, Alabama, Nevada, California and Georgia have the highest rates of hospitalizations, Midwest states including Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan are showing a slow continuous decline, according to the state's data.
Active cases remain most prevalent in Wayne County, with 64,446 cases and additional 30,243 cases in Detroit. Oakland County has 60,497 cases and Macomb has 54,764.
The state's case tracker also noted Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Saginaw 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.
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.
Whitmer said Monday that Michigan is quickly moving up in the ranks of getting shots in arms.
"I know that people are anxious and ready to get the vaccine... We don’t yet have the kind of supply that we need. Yet," she said. "We do have a plan for 50,000 shots in arms per day once we have the vaccines that we need. Every eligible Michigander who wants a vaccine will get a vaccine.
“This process is like a locomotive… but we will be picking up steam. I just ask for patience as our front-line workers are working 24/7 to get the shots that we do have in arms," Whitmer said.
The state received more than 1 million doses of the vaccine and administered 696,273, according to the CDC tracker.
Almost 300 additional members of the Michigan National Guard are being deployed to expand COVID-19 vaccination and testing efforts.
They will assist the state health department to administer the vaccine and test for coronavirus. Including the new addition, there are now over 600 members of the Michigan National Guard deployed in the state.
The coronavirus variant, B.1.1.7.,w first reported in Michigan on Jan. 16, was traced to retail stores in Ann Arbor.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, announced Monday there are at least 13 confirmed variant cases in Washtenaw County and four in Wayne County.
“There are likely more cases that we have not yet identified and there's possible spread of the variant that is happening right now,” Khaldun said. “… This means possibly more cases overall, hospitalizations and deaths. Our current tests can identify it and our vaccines appear to work against it."
B.1.1.7. is believed to be more contagious, but there has been no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or severity of the disease compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been circulating across the United States for months, the health department said in a press release.
“We do not want to go backwards to slow the progress we have already made," she said.
Khaldun said the process will take several months to complete vaccinations at the current rate, but the general public should prepare to receive the vaccine by late spring.
The virus is blamed for more than 425,000 deaths and 25 million confirmed infections in the United States.
Officials are tracking at least 714 active outbreaks as of Monday, a decline from 774 outbreaks last week. Of the outbreaks, 138 were reported the second week of January, including 37 at long-term care facilities and 26 at K-12 schools.
Top categories for outbreaks continue to be manufacturing and construction sites, healthcare, retail, schools and social gatherings.
The state reported 26 additional school outbreaks on Monday, adding to a list of 76 school outbreaks.
The state considers 463,106 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.