Michigan adds 17,003 cases, 280 deaths from COVID-19 over two days

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 17,003 cases and 280 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, including cases from Tuesday.

The additions bring the state totals since the pandemic began to 1,276,264 confirmed cases and 23,595 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The state averaged 8,502 cases over the two days. Of the latest deaths reported, 143 were identified during a vital records review, state health officials noted.

Michigan broke the weekly record of new cases last week, setting a seven-day total of 53,575 — a new high not seen through the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Weekly caseloads have escalated throughout the month. From Nov. 8-13, the state added 31,072 cases and 293 deaths from the virus, an increase from the first week of November, when the state added 29,171 cases and 292 deaths from the virus.

So far this week, the state has added 34,011 cases and 363 deaths from the virus.

Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory on Friday recommending people wear masks at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status.

The state also encouraged businesses to impose policies to ensure that all people entering, including employees, wear masks and advised individuals who are not fully vaccinated or who are immunocompromised to avoid large crowds or gatherings.

"The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state health department, said Friday.

"We are issuing the face mask advisory and are looking to Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, their families and their communities by wearing a mask in indoor settings and getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu as soon as possible if they have not already done so."

The face mask advisory will remain in effect until further notice, according to Friday's announcement.

More than a year ago 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 ended in June.

But the uptick in cases and deaths has not resulted in any new mandates at the state level. Whitmer officials have preferred to encourage local and county officials to issue public health orders such as mask mandates. 

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.

Last week, 17.3% of Michigan's COVID-19 tests were positive, the largest weekly positivity rate since The Detroit News started tracking the metric in June 2020. 

Michigan hospitalizations from COVID-19 are at a seven-month high. The Michigan Health and Hospital Association sounded the alarm Monday over near-record hospitalizations

As of Monday, 3,699 adults and 42 children are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19. At least 831 adults are in the ICU and 488 are on ventilators, according to state data. 

Monday's total of hospitalized adults with confirmed cases marks a 26% increase from a week ago and the highest tally since April 26, when 3,470 were hospitalized. 

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

John Karasinski, a spokesman of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, has 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.

About 13.9% of hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients, up from 11.6% the week prior. There has been an average of 2,437 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. 15, nine hospitals were at full bed occupancy including Detroit Receiving Hospital, Hurley Medical Center, Mid-Michigan Medical-Gratiot, Munising Memorial Hospital, ProMedica Coldwater Regional Hospital, Sparrow Eaton, Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital.

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 54.8% 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 87,000 children, or 10%, have received their first dose in Michigan.

More than 1.2 million booster doses have been administered in Michigan. Of those, more than 35% of 65-74-year-olds have received a booster; 20% of 50-64-year-olds and 75 and older; 9% of 40-49; and 8% of 30-39-year-olds. The majority of boosters administered have been concentrated in southeast Michigan. Oakland County has the most boosters administered, according to state tracking data.

Approximately 1.5% of those fully vaccinated have been reported with a breakthrough infection, according to the state health department.

The number of active outbreaks has increased since last week at 236 new outbreaks. Transmission levels remain highest for those aged 10-19 years old.

There were 140 new outbreaks at K-12 schools in Michigan last week for a total of 470 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.

In Michigan, over 50% of children hospitalized for the virus have no reported underlying conditions.

Outbreaks 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.

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 11,439 known cases and has spread statewide.

The virus is blamed for more than 765,000 deaths and 47.3 million confirmed infections in the United States.

The state considered 1,048,073 million people recovered from the virus as of Nov. 10. 


Twitter: @SarahRahal_