Michigan adds 1,156 cases, 68 deaths from COVID-19
Michigan on Saturday added 1,156 cases of the coronavirus and 68 deaths as a result of COVID-19.
The latest reported figures bring Michigan's total number of cases to 587,581 and deaths to 15,522 since the virus was first detected in March, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Despite clusters of cases, Michigan has been experiencing a downward trend in other coronavirus data.
This week Michigan added 7,662 cases and 163 deaths. The deaths announced Saturday include 62 identified during a vital records review.
Last week, the state totaled 5,695, cases and 209 deaths, the lowest weekly case total since Sept. 20. 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 3.5%, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive said.
The number of outbreaks is down 14% from last week. One region, the Upper Peninsula, is below 3% and all of the state's 83 counties have a positivity rate below 10%, according to the state.
During the week of Feb. 20, Michigan has increased from the 23rd-highest number of cases in the nation to the 18th highest, and the state has the 18th-highest death rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID data tracker.
Michigan ranks 37th in the nation for most hospitalizations and 18th for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.
In Michigan, 4.9% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, a 72% decrease from the December peak, health officials said.
As of Wednesday, the state has 835 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, with 200 in intensive care units and 86 on ventilators.
New York, Georgia, Texas, New Jersey and Arizona have the highest per capita hospitalized patient numbers.
As of Tuesday, Michigan has the second-most cases of the virus variant B.1.1.7. with 314 cases; 192 of those cases — or 61% — are within the Michigan Department of Corrections. Florida has the most, 489 cases of the variant.
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
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 that her administration will examine easing some COVID-19 restrictions in the coming days as infection rates continue to decline.
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 1.9 million doses have been administered out of more than 2.6 million doses shipped to Michigan.
About 15.7% of Michigan's population has at least one dose and 8.7% of residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state.
The virus is blamed for more than 505,000 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.