Michigan adds 3,920 COVID-19 cases over three days, hospitalizations rising

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Michigan on Monday reported 3,920 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths over three days as a health association said statewide hospitalizations tied to the virus have now exceeded 1,000.

On Monday, amid ongoing concerns about the more contagious delta variant, the tallies from the state Department of Health and Human Services pushed overall totals to 933,394 cases and 20,123 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020. The latest figures reflect cases and deaths from Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Michigan's COVID-19 hospitalization and new infection numbers have been trending upward for a month.

The state has reported 10,807 new cases over the last week, up 14% from the 9,467 cases disclosed over the previous seven-day period.

Speech pathologist Kingsley Yang works on 9 West at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich. on April 21, 2021. 9 West, a floor dedicated to COVID-19 patients, is facing its third COVID-19 surge since the pandemic began.

Ruthanne Sudderth, spokeswoman for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, said the group is now tracking more than 1,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide. The last time the state reported more than 1,000 adults in the hospital with confirmed cases of the virus was nearly three months ago.

According to the health department's website, it will release a new total for hospitalizations on Tuesday.

The rate of increase in hospitalizations in Michigan has "slowed down a bit" but past surges have shown that there will likely be more cases, including cases that require medical care, as the state enters the back-to-school and fall seasons, Sudderth said.

"We’re very concerned with the resource constraints recent surges have caused in other states, and importantly, the nationwide rise in delta variant cases affecting kids," Sudderth said. "Our hospitals and their providers have been urging families to get vaccinated as soon as possible and return to mask wearing in public even after getting their shots."

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, which health experts hope will bolster confidence in vaccinations. About 65% of Michigan's population age 16 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday. State officials have set a goal of reaching 70% and, on Monday, concluded a lottery initiative that gave those who received their vaccinations the chance to win cash prizes.

The percentage of Michigan residents 16 and up with at least one vaccination was at about 62% when the lottery program was launched on July 1. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called the effort a "success" in a statement.

"But our work is not done," the governor said. "We are going to keep making efforts to reach people where they are, answer their questions and help them get their shots. If we work together, I know we can get this done and continue our economic jumpstart."

For weeks, officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services have been warning of a potential fourth wave in infections that could last until late September or early October.

States in the southern U.S. are currently experiencing surges that are testing their hospital capacity. Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida lead the nation in new infections per population over the last seven days, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While Michigan continues to be near the bottom of the rankings for new cases, concerns linger over whether that will change in the coming weeks as children return to classrooms for the new school year and as the state's COVID-19 metrics trend in an ominous direction.

During a presentation last week, Sarah Lyon-Callo, Michigan's top epidemiologist, shared data from the University of Michigan School of Public Health indicating that this fall's wave will look like the spring's with more than 4,000 deaths because of the virus in the fall and winter.

"We estimate that based on the pattern we're seeing, thus far, we will see hospitalizations growing through September with a peak in late September (or) early October," Lyon-Callo said.

Michigan reported its first COVID-19 cases in March 2020. Since the state has faced three surges in the virus: one in the spring of 2020, one in the fall and early winter of 2020 and one in the spring of 2021.