Michigan adds 775 cases, 19 deaths from COVID-19
Michigan on Tuesday added 775 cases of COVID-19 and 19 deaths as a result of the coronavirus.
The latest reported figures bring Michigan's total number of cases to 576,264 and deaths to 15,177 since the virus was first detected in March, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Despite the reported clusters of cases, Michigan has been experiencing a downward trend in other coronavirus data.
Last week, the state totaled 6,576 cases and 256 deaths, the lowest weekly case total in the previous 18 weeks. The week before, Michigan recorded 8,407 new cases and 293 deaths.
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 as well 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 5.7% in January.
One region, the Upper Peninsula, is below 3% and 82 of the state's 83 counties have a positivity rate below 10%, according to the state.
During the week of Feb. 6, Michigan had the 23rd-highest number of cases in the nation and the 20th-highest death rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID data tracker.
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, 6.3% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, a 72% decrease from the December peak, health officials said.
As of Tuesday, the state has a total of 67 cases of the virus variant B.1.1.7.: 39 cases in Washtenaw County, 10 in Wayne County, four in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties, three in Detroit and one each in Charlevoix, Eaton, Kent, Macomb, Sanilac, St. Clair and Van Buren counties.
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.
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.
The state health department announced a program Monday with initiatives to help vaccinate more vulnerable Michigan residents, Dr. Joneighn Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive said in a Monday press release.
Starting this week, mortuary service workers, who routinely work with infectious materials, are eligible to be vaccinated. Also, 41 federally qualified health centers in medically underserved areas will receive vaccines to aid people 65 and older.
Workers in food processing, an estimated 79,000 Michigan residents, will be able to be vaccinated starting March 1.
"Workers in higher risk agricultural settings have been adversely impacted by this pandemic," Khaldun said in the release. "We also know that we need to remove barriers to vaccine access for our most vulnerable individuals in Michigan, including those with disabilities, lower income, and racial and ethnic minorities. These steps will allow our federally qualified health centers across the state to begin vaccinating and will prioritize vaccine allocation to partnerships and providers who are removing barriers to access."
According to data on Michigan's vaccine website, more than 1.6 million doses have been administered out of more than 2.29 million doses shipped as of Feb. 14.
On Monday, Beaumont Health canceled 1,884 second-dose appointments scheduled for Thursday after learning on Friday of an unexpected reduction in Pfizer vaccine allocations from the state.
The hospital system said it is working to reschedule those appointments one week later on the same day, at the same time, as long as the state supplies enough vaccine by then.
Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for MDHHS, said the expansion of eligibility for vaccine was not responsible for Beaumont Health's cancellations, although she declined to comment on what happened to the doses.
"The state has been working with Beaumont Health for the past week to reconcile their second dose shortages," Sutfin said in an email to The Detroit News. "It is unfortunate that they chose to cancel second dose appointments while we were continuing to work with them on this issue."
About 11.7% of Michigan's population has at least one dose, according to the state.
The virus is blamed for more than 486,000 deaths and 27 million confirmed infections in the U.S.
On Monday, the state reported 111 new outbreaks as of Thursday. Of those outbreaks, 26 are in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes or group homes and 17 are in K-12 schools.
Construction and manufacturing settings have 18 new outbreaks.
The state considers 517,991 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.