Michigan adds 635 cases, 63 deaths from COVID-19
Michigan on Saturday added 635 cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths as a result of the coronavirus.
The latest reported figures bring Michigan's total number of cases to 579,919 and deaths to 15,359 since the virus was first detected in March, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The deaths announced Saturday includes 57 identified during a vital records review.
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Despite the reported clusters of cases, Michigan has been experiencing a downward trend in other coronavirus data.
This week, Michigan has added 5,695 cases and 209 deaths from the virus.
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 3.9% and have been declining for the past five weeks, Dr. Joneighn Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive said Wednesday.
The number of outbreaks is down 7% from last week. 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. 13, Michigan continues to have 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 14th for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.
In Michigan, 5.2% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, a 72% decrease from the December peak, health officials said.
As of Friday, the state has 843 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 217 are in intensive care units and 107 are on ventilators.
As of Wednesday, the state has a total of 157 cases of the virus variant B.1.1.7. in 12 counties: 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.
In addition, results from daily testing of prisoners and staff at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia County found 88 prisoners and two employees have tested positive for the variant, one week after a staff member tested positive, Michigan State Police said.
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 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday the state is ninth nationwide for total vaccines administered, and "Our goal remains 50,000 shots a day" for more than 5.6 million eligible people.
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, Khaldun said.
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.
According to data on Michigan's vaccine website, more than 1.7 million doses have been administered out of more than 2.3 million doses shipped to Michigan as of Wednesday.
About 14% of Michigan's population has at least one dose and 514,000 residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state.
However, officials are urging residents to confirm their COVID-19 appointments because winter storm conditions in Kentucky and Tennessee are delaying vaccine shipments. Pfizer vaccines were not shipped out on Monday due to the weather but some shipments are being processed this week.
Moderna vaccines were not shipped on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Severe weather affected a Moderna vaccine distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee, from air and ground transportation to the workforce, including those who pack and sort the vaccine.
“We ask that Michiganders confirm their appointments prior to traveling and to have patience as providers seek to reschedule any appointments,” Khaldun said. “Unfortunately, distribution of the vaccine in this circumstance is simply out of our control."
The virus is blamed for more than 493,000 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.