Michigan adds 1,316 cases, 34 deaths from COVID-19

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan on Tuesday added 1,316 cases of the coronavirus and 34 deaths as a result of COVID-19.

The latest reported figures bring Michigan's total number of cases to 582,719 and deaths to 15,396 since the virus was first detected in March, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak staff members perform curbside testing for COVID-19 and the flu for people at the North parking lot.

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Despite the reported clusters of cases, Michigan has been experiencing a downward trend in other coronavirus data.

Last week, the state totaled 5,695, cases and 209 deaths, the lowest weekly case total in the previous 19 weeks. The week prior, Michigan recorded 6,576 cases and 256 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. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive said.

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 Tuesday, the state has 827 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 225 are in intensive care units and 93 are on ventilators. 

As of Sunday, Michigan has the second-most cases of the virus variant B.1.1.7. at 210 cases. Florida has the most, 433 cases.

The first case of the variant was identified in January in a University of Michigan student who had traveled from the United Kingdom. The variant has spread significantly in Washtenaw and Wayne counties. An outbreak of 90 cases at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia County appears to be the largest cluster of the variant and has spread to two other Michigan jails, corrections officials said.

Vaccines rolled out in phases

By March 1, 2021, all areas of the state may, as vaccine supplies are available, also implement vaccination of people who are frontline essential workers in the food processing and agricultural industries.

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.

About 14% of Michigan's population has at least one dose and 514,000 residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state.

The virus is blamed for more than 500,000 deaths and 28 million confirmed infections in the U.S.

On Monday, the state reported 80 new outbreaks as of Thursday. Of those outbreaks, 21 are in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes or group homes and 18 are in K-12 schools.  

Construction and manufacturing settings have 11 new outbreaks.

The state considers 529,080 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_