Michigan COVID-19 cases rise for seventh consecutive week

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan on Saturday added 6,892 new COVID-19 cases and 74 deaths as infections rose for the seventh consecutive week.

The latest figures bring the state's total number of cases to 738,023 and deaths to 16,500 since the virus was first detected in March 2020, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Of the deaths reported Saturday, 57 were identified during a vital records review. 

This week, the state recorded 45,817 cases and 282 deaths.

Last week, the state recorded 39,637 new cases and 192 deaths. It's a jump from the last week of March when the state recorded 27,758 new cases and 129 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.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Cameron Maybin, a former Detroit Tiger, gets a nasopharengeal swab test for COVID by Wayne Health RN Maya Johnson, left, of Detroit.

The state's 492 cases per 100,000 people leads the nation, surpassing New Jersey at 328 cases per 100,000 people and New York City at 289 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

► For subscribers:How ‘perfect storm’ resulted in Michigan leading nation in new COVID-19 cases

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday strongly urged Michigan's high schools to suspend in-person classes and youth sports for two weeks as well as asking diners to avoid eating at restaurant indoors for the same period to combat a surge

Currently, all Michigan residents age 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. However, Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for kids ages 16 and 17.

Michigan's latest data

The percentage of COVID-19 tests bringing positive results has been rising for six weeks and is at 18%, the highest since the spring 2020 surge, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Friday.

"We have not seen that high of a positivity rate since our first surge last spring and that’s concerning because we’re doing many more tests than we were then," Khaldun said. "This indicates there’s now broad community spread. Hospitalizations are also increasing and 15.2% of hospital beds in the state are filled COVID-19 patients."

Cases among kids ages 10 to 19 have risen for the last five weeks, faster than any other age group as outbreaks continue to rise in schools and youth sports. From January to March, there have been 291 outbreaks from youth sports resulting in at least 1,091 infections, Khaldun said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday she is pushing for stronger restrictions in Michigan to slow a spike in COVID-19 infections, such as a pause on indoor dining in restaurants and tightening rules around youth sports.

During the week of April 3, Michigan led the nation in percent positivity, case rates and hospitalizations, which have been increasing for four consecutive weeks.

Deaths have increased 75% since March 9. The state also has the 12th highest death rate, according to the CDC's COVID data tracker.

Some hospitals are canceling elective surgeries and limiting visitations, begging for intervention

As of Thursday, the state reported 3,688 adults were hospitalized with the coronavirus, a 301% jump from one month earlier when there were 920 hospitalizations.

A sign points to a COVID-19 testing site at a Sparrow Health System facility in Lansing on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

About 26 states are seeing an increase in cases and 21 states are seeing weekly increases in hospitalizations. Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Maryland have the highest per capita hospitalized patient numbers.

State health department officials remain cautious as new variants of COVID-19 spread. The variants are identified through target testing and state officials expect there are cases of variants that have not been identified or recorded.

As of Wednesday, Michigan has the second-most recorded cases of the variant B.1.1.7. with 2,262 cases in 60 counties. Florida has the most, with 3,494 cases. Nationally, there are 19,554 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 prisons, corrections officials said.

The first case of the South African variant B.1.351 was confirmed by the state Bureau of Laboratories in a boy living in Jackson County. There are a total of nine cases of the variant in six Michigan jurisdictions.

The first case of the P.1 variant from Brazil was identified in a Bay County resident. There are now six confirmed cases of P.1. in Michigan and 224 in the U.S.

Vaccines rolled out in phases

As of Thursday, the state has administered 5.1 million of 5.6 million doses distributed. About 38% of the state's residents have had at least one dose of vaccine and 24% are fully vaccinated.

The state's fully vaccinated population includes more than half of all seniors 65 years and older, 21% of people aged 50 to 64 years, 15% of people age 40 to 49, and 13% of people age 30 to 39, according to the state's data tracker.

The state ranks 10th in the nation for the number of people who are fully vaccinated.

However, Detroit is lagging behind at 1 in 5 residents, or 21%, having at least one dose.

The virus is blamed for more than 556,000 deaths and 30 million confirmed infections in the U.S.

The state is tracking 991 active outbreaks, a 28% increase from the previous week.

The state had 84 new school outbreaks since last week at education institutions including K-12 public and private schools, colleges and school administrative buildings.

Another 35 outbreaks were in long-term care facilities, 29 outbreaks were in daycare and childcare programs, 43 in manufacturing and 27 in retail.

The state considers 577,141 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_