Michigan adds 4,326 COVID-19 cases, 38 deaths over two days

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 4,326 new COVID-19 cases and 38 deaths from the virus on Wednesday, including totals from Tuesday.

On Wednesday, amid ongoing concerns about the more contagious delta variant, the tallies from the state Department of Health and Human Services pushed overall totals to 937,720 cases and 20,161 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020. The average number of new confirmed cases is 2,163 for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Michigan's COVID-19 hospitalizations now exceed 1,100 inpatients and new infection numbers have been trending upward for a month.

The state added 8,246 cases and 48 deaths from the virus so far this week.

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

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

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

► More:Michigan exceeded 20,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the state's remaining COVID-19 restrictions on June 22 after earlier rolling back many others, including indoor and outdoor capacity limitations.

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.

Through Tuesday, 65.2% of Michigan residents 16 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 55.3% of Michigan residents 12 years and older are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 transmission is high enough in all but two of Michigan's 83 counties that an overwhelming majority of Michigan residents should be wearing masks while in public under federal guidelines, according to the latest CDC data.

Michigan's latest data

Michigan has the ninth-lowest case rate and sixth-lowest death rate over the last week in the U.S., according to the CDC's COVID data tracker.

Statewide positivity has increased to 7% and has been increasing for the last five weeks — up from 5.8% last week.

Kalamazoo, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Jackson and Traverse City are experiencing the fastest growth in COVID-19 cases.

Those ages 30-39 have the highest case rates in the state, followed by 10-19, then 20-29. Case rates for all age groups are no longer decreasing and have entered a low incidence plateau after bottoming out on June 26.

The number of active outbreaks is up 48% from last week with 60 new outbreaks identified mostly from nursing and long-term care facilities.

About 2.9% of hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients. Hospitalizations have increased 52% since last week.

As of Wednesday, 1,132 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with 247 in an intensive care unit and 126 other patients on ventilators.

The majority of patients hospitalized from the virus are unvaccinated, the state health department says.

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 Aug. 10, Michigan has 14,412 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants — the majority, or 13,648 cases, being B.1.1.7 or now known as the "Alpha" variant.

The first case of the Alpha variantwas identified in January in a University of Michigan student who had traveled from the United Kingdom. There are 533 cases of the variant within the Michigan Department of Corrections after an outbreak of 90 cases at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia County.

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 85 cases of the variant.

The first case of the P.1. variant from Brazil was identified in a Bay County resident. There are now 328 confirmed cases of P.1.

There are also 307 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 "delta variant" was initially detected in India in October. There are now 233 cases in the state. Delta cases have doubled in the last four weeks.

Since the delta variant accounts for 83% of new COVID-19 cases in the country, all residents should consider wearing a mask in closed spaces, said Dr. Joel Fishbain, director of infection prevention and epidemiology for Beaumont Grosse Pointe.

"There's the chance that ignoring the continued outbreak of the delta variant could result in the next variant, and the next variant could be able to escape natural immunity or vaccination. That's my fear," Fishbain said. "South Korea picked up two delta variants that have a new mutation. It's probably a good idea to put a mask on until we know if the vaccine prevents transmission."

Vaccines administered 

As of Tuesday, the state had administered 9.8 million of 12.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine distributed. About 4.9 million people in the state are fully vaccinated.

The state's fully vaccinated population includes 75% of all seniors 65 and older, 63% of people aged 50 to 64; 51% of people age 40 to 49; 46% of people age 30 to 39; 37% of people age 20 to 29; 36% of people age 16 to 19 and 16% of people age 12 to 15.

Less than 1% of people who are fully vaccinated test positive, according to the state's metrics.

In Detroit, vaccination rates lag. About 41.4% of residents so far have received one dose, according to the city's COVID-19 dashboard. That's compared with 66% in outer-Wayne County, 58% in Macomb County and 69% in Oakland County and 68% in Washtenaw County.

To ramp up vaccinations Detroit is offering $50 "good neighbor" incentives and walk-up vaccination clinics at the TCF Center, Farewell Recreational Center, Northwest Activities Center and the Samaritan Center.

The virus is blamed for more than 631,000 deaths and 38.2 million confirmed infections in the United States.

The state considered 875,719 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_