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Michigan adds 21,034 cases, 95 deaths from COVID-19 over three days

Sarah Rahal Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Michigan added 21,034 cases and 95 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, including cases from Saturday and Sunday, as the state reached its goal of vaccinating 70% of residents age 16 and older from the virus.

But it occurred as hospitalizations hit a seven-month high with more than 3,000 people ailing from the virus, and cases are not expected to slow down for six weeks or longer, according to a University of Washington projection. 

In the last seven days, only one state reported more cases than Michigan based on the latest state data. Michigan ranks eighth for the highest case rate nationally. The state had the 19th highest number of deaths between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 at 304 deaths.

The latest figures from the state Department of Health and Human Services push the overall totals to 1,209,712 confirmed cases and 22,862 deaths since the virus was first detected in the state in March 2020.

The state averaged 7,011 cases per day over the three days. Of the latest deaths reported, 27 were identified during a vital records review, state health officials noted. 

Last week, the state added 31,072 and 293 deaths from the virus, an increase from the week prior when the state added 29,171 cases and 292 deaths from the virus. In the last week of September, the state added 23,801 cases and 244 deaths.

The weekly record of 50,892 cases was set Nov. 15-21, 2020. The second-highest weekly total was 47,316 Nov. 22-28, 2020.

On Nov. 15, 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her administration's "pause to save lives," bringing wide-ranging restrictions limiting gatherings at high schools, colleges and restaurants to combat what she described as the "worst moment" yet in the COVID-19 pandemic. Those restrictions were ended in June. 

Michigan's latest data

Michigan remains at a high transmission rate and the state's percent of tests returning positive has increased from last week.

Statewide positivity increased to 14.1% from 11.6% the week prior, according to data from Tuesday.

Michigan hospitalizations from COVID-19 are at a seven-month high. Hospitalizations have increased by nearly 20% for two straight weeks. Should it continue on the trajectory, Michigan could have 4,000 patients hospitalized within the next two weeks, data shows.

As of Monday, 3,040 adults and 41 children are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and another 159 people are hospitalized with suspected cases. At least 698 adults are in the ICU and 381 are on ventilators, according to state data. 

The state's record for most adult hospitalizations with confirmed cases of the virus occurred on April 19 with 4,158 inpatients.

John Karasinski, spokesman of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, said the growth is concerning as hospitals have experienced a 40% increase in daily emergency department patients since October 2020. Overall bed occupancy in Michigan hospitals is 10% higher than what Michigan experienced in the fall surge when the state peaked Dec. 1, 2020, with 4,283 COVID-19 hospitalizations, he said.

"Both the Traverse City and Jackson regions have already surpassed their COVID-19 hospitalization peaks from this past spring," Karasinski said in a statement Friday. "If the growth in hospitalizations does not slow down, many regions of the state will be on pace to reach their highest COVID-19 hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic."

Karasinski said national healthcare staffing shortages is putting more pressure on frontline caregivers and increasing rates of burnout.

"The healthcare staffing shortage existed before the pandemic due to an aging population," he said. "The pandemic has exacerbated the issue as we’re hearing from our members that the pandemic has pushed employees from considering retirement to following through with retiring, sometimes faster than they expected."

He further said hospitals need the public's help and encouraged residents to get themselves, their children and others not only vaccinated against COVID-19 but also influenza. 

"Our hospitals and care teams are available to help, but the public should expect longer wait times at the emergency room due to high patient volumes and staffing shortages," he said. "Individuals with a recent positive COVID-19 test result should also consider receiving monoclonal antibody treatments, which are statistically proven to decrease the risk of hospitalization."

About 11.6% of hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients, up from 10.5% the week prior. There has been an average of 2,141 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 every day in the state.

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

As of Nov. 8, eight hospitals were at full bed occupancy including Beaumont Wayne, Bronson South Haven, Detroit Receiving Hospital, ProMedica Coldwater Regional Hospital and ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital, Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Sparrow Eaton in Charlotte, Spectrum Health Reed City and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital.

However, the state was doing significantly more testing last year at this time than it is today.

Last week, the state reported about 280,000 confirmatory tests. During the week of Nov. 15-21, 2020, the state reported 473,000 tests.

Cases were rising more quickly last year leading to a surge; however, this year has tracked a slow increase over time, state data indicates.

The proportion of kids getting sick with COVID-19 in the state also is increasing. In Michigan, over 50% of children hospitalized have no reported underlying conditions.

Outbreaks have steadily been increasing with more than 100 in K-12 schools last week, which have led to an increase in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. MIS-C is a condition in children where multiple organ systems become inflamed or dysfunctional. There are 176 cases in the state, and the majority, or 71%, are in the ICU. There have been five deaths.

In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, which health experts hoped would bolster confidence in vaccinations.

About 54.4% of Michigan residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Roll out of the vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds is occurring after Pfizer's vaccine for children was approved by the FDA and more than 840,000 children of that age are in Michigan. So far, more than 40,000, or 5%, children have received their first dose in Michigan.

The state health department estimates less than 1% of vaccinated people in Michigan are contracting the virus.

The number of active outbreaks has increased 9% since last week at 181 new outbreaks. Transmission levels remain highest for those aged 10-19 years old.

There were 104 new outbreaks at K-12 schools in Michigan in the past week for a total of 428 ongoing outbreaks. About 7% of school districts have rescinded their school mask policies bringing the total to 42% of school districts mandating masks.

Case rates among children are higher in counties where school districts do not have mask policies, according to the state health department.

As of Tuesday, Michigan has more than 18,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants — the majority, or 13,667 cases, being B.1.1.7 — the "alpha" variant.

The delta variant accounts for 10,019 known cases and has spread statewide.

The virus is blamed for more than 759,000 deaths and 46.8 million confirmed infections in the United States.

The state considered 1,026,195 million people recovered from the virus as of Nov. 5. 

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_