Michigan adds 1,289 cases, 107 deaths from COVID-19 as weekly caseloads continue to fall

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
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Michigan on Saturday added 1,289 new cases and 107 deaths from the coronavirus as caseloads fell for the fourth week in a row.

The latest figures bring the state's total number of cases to 874,624 and deaths to 18,607 since the virus was first detected in March 2020, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. 

This week Michigan added 11,991 new cases and 402 deaths. Saturday's deaths included 91 identified during a vital records review.

Last week, the state added 18,248 new cases and 464 deaths from the virus. During the previous week of April 25 through May 1, the state added 25,065 cases and 454 deaths. The week of April 18-24, Michigan added 34,013 new cases and 449 deaths. 

The weekly record of 50,892 cases was set the week of Nov. 15-21. The second highest weekly total was 47,316 the week of Nov. 22-28.

The weekly record of 808 deaths was recorded in mid-December.

Fourteen-year-old Koby Rauner gets his vaccination for COVID-19 from RN Ashly Hofbauer as his parents Sarah and Adam watch at the Beaumont Service Center in Southfield, May 13, 2021.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration announced Friday it will lift mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals through a new epidemic order that represents a milestone in the state's fight against COVID-19.

The order follows guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Whitmer's administration also revealed that the broad indoor mask mandate will expire July 1. In a video posted on social media, the Democratic governor called the announcement a "huge step" on the state's path to normalcy. It came 385 days after she first issued an executive order directing residents to wear homemade face coverings.

"With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal," Whitmer said. "The message is clear: Vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up."

The new order exempts the fully vaccinated from the state's mask requirements. It also says businesses responsible for locations where indoor gatherings occur must make a "good faith effort" to comply with the ongoing mask mandate for those who haven't been vaccinated. The effort could be merely posting signs  "notifying people that wearing a mask is required unless a person falls into a specified exception," according to the order.

Michigan continues to lead the nation in new COVID-19 cases per population after a surge in March and April, but the state's infection rates have been dropping for more than three weeks. Last week, Michigan reported 18,248 new cases, a 47% decline from two weeks earlier.

On Friday, 1,936 Michigan adults were hospitalized with COVID-19, a 36% decrease from the total two weeks earlier. Hospitalizations have been declining since April 19.

Whitmer announced in late April the "MI Vacc to Normal" plan that ties the future of COVID-19 restrictions to the percentage of residents who have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

As of Monday, 55% of the state's residents over age 16 have received at least one dose of vaccine and 42.7% are fully vaccinated — initiating the first phase of Whitmer’s plan which includes four steps to gradually remove restrictions, beginning May 24. The final step, two weeks after 5.7 million residents, or 70% of the adult population, receive their first dose the state will lift its gathering and face mask orders, she said.

"While the daily case count, test positivity are still not where we want them to be, we’re headed in the right direction,” Whitmer said.

Michigan also asked all primary care physicians to enroll as vaccine providers in an effort to expand vaccinations across the state as children ages 12-15 became eligible for the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday.

Michigan's latest data

The state continues to lead the nation at 192 cases per 100,000 people — a decrease from 252 cases per capita last week and a high of 519 cases per capita earlier in April — outpacing Colorado at 164 cases per 100,000 people and Minnesota at 152 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The seven-day average percentage of COVID-19 tests bringing positive results has dropped from 11% to 9.8%.

Southwest Michigan, the Grand Rapids area and the Upper Peninsula are experiencing the fastest growth in COVID-19 cases. Saginaw has an infection rate of more than 15%. 

Those ages 10-19 and 20-29 have the highest case rates in the state, followed by 20-29, then 30-39.

From January to April, there have been 291 outbreaks from youth sports resulting in 1,217 infections, with the most clusters from basketball, hockey and wrestling. There were also 311 new outbreaks last week in K-12 schools.

The state also has the fifth-highest death rate in the United States, according to the CDC's COVID data tracker.

About five states are seeing an increase in cases and 14 states are seeing weekly increases in hospitalizations. Michigan, Maryland and Delaware and the city of Washington, D.C. have the highest per-capita hospitalized patient numbers.

About 11.8% of hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients.

As of Tuesday, 2,138 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 with 630 in an intensive care unit and 421 on ventilators. That's a 51% drop from April 19 when hospitalizations peaked with 4,158 patients.

Twenty-six hospitals in Michigan are at 90% or more capacity, as of May 7. Ascension St. Joseph Hospital, Beaumont Hospital Wayne, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital are at full capacity, according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

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 more than 9,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants — the majority, or 8,754 cases, being B.1.1.7.

The first case of the B.1.1.7 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. There are 519 cases of the variant within the Michigan Department of Corrections.

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 49 cases of the variant.

The first case of the P.1 variant from Brazil was identified in a Bay County resident. There are now 148 confirmed cases of P.1.

There are also 281 confirmed cases of B.1.427 and B.1.429, two variants formed in California.

The first case of B.1.617 was identified in Clinton County in May. The variant was initially detected in India in October. There are now seven cases in the state.

Wayne County has the largest spread of the B.1.1.7 variant with more than 641 cases including 219 in Detroit. Wayne, Washtenaw, Macomb and Genesee counties have five of the six variants. Clinton County has all the reported variants. 

Vaccines available for all 16-plus

As of Monday, the state has administered 7.5 million of 10 million doses distributed. 

The state's fully vaccinated population includes 70% of all seniors 65 years and older, 50% of people aged 50 to 64, 36% of people age 40 to 49, 32% of people age 30 to 39 and 23% of people age 20 to 29, according to the state's data tracker.

Pfizer's vaccine was cleared for use in children age 12 to 15 in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration Monday and gained CDC approval Wednesday.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Wednesday, as a mother of two children in that age group, she's thrilled and the authorization is an important milestone for Michigan children.

"Kids are not immune to COVID-19," she said. "We've seen many outbreaks among schools, school sports and over 115 children in Michigan have contracted a very serious inflammatory syndrome from COVID-19 called MIS-C and unfortunately, many of these children have ended up in the intensive care unit, and some have even lost their lives."

The state ranks eighth in the nation for the number of people who are fully vaccinated. But the number of vaccinations administered in Michigan in the last week has dropped significantly, and supply has outpaced demand for the vaccines, according to the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

“The MI Vacc to Normal challenge outlines steps we can take to emerge from this pandemic as we hit our vaccination targets together,” Whitmer said. “On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe. 

"If you haven’t already, I encourage you to rise to the challenge and be a part of the solution, so we can continue our economic recovery and have the summer we all crave.” 

In Detroit, vaccination rates lag as about 33% of residents have received one dose, according to the city's COVID-19 dashboard. That's compared to 58% in outer-Wayne County, 51% in Macomb County and 62% in Oakland and Washtenaw counties.

To ramp up vaccinations Detroit is offering "good neighbor" incentives and walk-up vaccination clinics at the TCF Center, Farewell Recreational Center, Northwest Activities Center and the Samaritan Center. No appointment is needed.

The virus is blamed for more than 582,000 deaths and 32.7 million confirmed infections in the U.S.

The state is tracking 1,243 active outbreaks including 67 new school outbreaks since last week at educational institutions including K-12 public and private schools.

Another 24 outbreaks were in long-term care facilities, 14 outbreaks were in day care and child care programs, 24 in manufacturing and 14 in retail.

The state considers 703,746 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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