Michigan adds 915 cases, 12 deaths from COVID-19

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan on Wednesday added 915 cases and 12 deaths from the coronavirus.

The latest figures bring the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan to 570,895 and total deaths to 14,977 since the virus was first detected in March, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Michigan recorded 8,407 new cases and 293 deaths last week, the lowest weekly total in the last 17 weeks. The state recorded 12,535 new cases and 487 deaths the week prior and 16,452 new cases and 430 deaths in mid-January.

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.

A standing cutout of Central Michigan University President Robert O. Davies with the modified "Fire Up Chips" slogan to "Fire Up! Mask Up!" greets students.

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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 4.5%, down from 6.2% the week before.

Indoor dining at restaurants and bars in Michigan resumed on Feb. 1, 75 days after it was suspended.

Under a new epidemic order that will last until Feb. 21, restaurants and bars are 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. 30, Michigan had the 22nd-highest number of cases in the nation and the 18th-highest death rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID data tracker.

State positivity has decreased to 5.7% and has declined for 20 consecutive days. One region, the Upper Peninsula, is below 3% and 74 counties have a positivity rate below 10%, according to the state.

Michigan ranks 37th in the nation for most hospitalizations and 16th for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

In Michigan, 6% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, a 72% decrease from the December peak, health officials said.

As of Tuesday, the state reported 1,162 adults hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, down 70% from the Dec. 1 peak. Patients include 299 in critical care and 149 on ventilators, with ICU beds at 74% capacity, according to state data.

Across the U.S., 43 states are seeing significate outbreaks. Louisiana and Pennsylvania are seeing an increase in cases.

While Georgia, New York, Nevada and California 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 66,802 cases and an additional 31,000 cases in Detroit. Oakland County has 71,810 cases and Macomb has 56,708.

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

CDC researchers announced Wednesday that two masks are better than one in slowing coronavirus spread, but health officials stopped short of recommending that everyone double up.

Vaccines rolled out in phases

As the vaccine continues to be rolled out in phases, the state said it remains committed to having 50,000 shots administered per day as supplies increase, with a goal to get 70% of the population ages 16 and older, about 5.6 million people, vaccinated "as soon as possible." 

But they said the plan can't be fully implemented until the state receives more doses of vaccine from the federal government. 

Michigan's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, announced on Wednesday the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday when Michiganians over age 65 and some front-line essential workers can receive vaccines.

The current phase allows for the 65 and older age group to receive a dose of 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 are eligible for vaccinations. 

According to data on Michigan's vaccine website, nearly 1.3 million of the 2 million doses shipped to the state as of Monday have been administered.

About 11% of Michigan's population has at least one dose, according to the state.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, that state's chief medical executive, said despite the state's progress, she's worried about the new variant.

The coronavirus variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7., was first reported in Michigan on Jan. 16 when a University of Michigan student traveled from the United Kingdom and visited retail stores in Ann Arbor, health officials say.

Twenty-three days later, there are 61 cases of the variant spread to 10 Michigan counties. Washtenaw County now has 39 confirmed variant cases.

Kent County reported its first case of variant on Sunday. The variant is approximately 50% more transmissible, leading to "faster spread of the virus and potentially increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths," a press release from the Kent County Health Department said.

There are 932 known cases of the B.1.1.7. variant in the U.S. in 34 states. Michigan is one of the states with the most cases at 61, trailing Florida (343) and California (156).

Washtenaw County has the most cases at 39; Wayne has six; Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties each have four; the city of Detroit has two cases; and Charlevoix, Eaton, Kent, Macomb, Sanilac and Van Buren counties each have a single case.

"There will be more," Khaldun said during a Tuesday update. "Viruses change and mutate when they have the opportunity to spread but getting vaccinated will not only slow the spread of the usual COVID-19 virus but also prevent the virus from getting the opportunity to mutate as it spreads from person to person."

Starting Monday, weekly COVID-19 testing will be mandatory for all UM students who attend campus to minimize the spread, university officials announced Monday.

The virus is blamed for more than 463,000 deaths and 27 million confirmed infections in the U.S.

Officials are tracking at least 648 active outbreaks as of Feb. 4, a decline from 704 outbreaks last week. Of the outbreaks, 139 were reported the last week of January, including 31 at long-term care facilities and 29 at K-12 schools.

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

The state reported 32 additional school outbreaks on Monday, adding to a list of 99 school outbreaks.

The state considers 498,495 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_