Michigan adds 16,530 cases, 358 deaths from COVID-19 over two days

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 16,530 cases and 358 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, including cases from Tuesday.

The additions bring the state's totals to 1,318,123 confirmed cases and 24,090 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The state averaged 8,265 cases over the two days. Of the latest deaths reported, 160 were identified during a vital records review, state health officials noted.

Michigan hit a new record of adult hospitalizations from the virus Monday, and 80% of all hospital inpatient beds are full. 

Michigan broke the weekly record of new cases Nov. 13-19, setting a seven-day total of 53,575 — a new high not seen through the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last week, the state has added 34,011 cases and 363 deaths from the virus from Nov. 20 through Wednesday. Then, 25,329 cases and 137 deaths from Thursday through Monday.

Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory earlier in November recommending people wear masks at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status. It will remain in effect until further notice.

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.

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. Michigan reported the second-most cases in the country over the last seven days.

Last week, 18.9% of Michigan's COVID-19 tests were positive, a jump from 17.4% last week.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association sounded the alarm last week over near-record hospitalizations

As of Monday, 4,181 adults and 48 children are hospitalized with positive cases. Another 205 adults and 139 children are hospitalized with suspected cases.

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 23% of hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients, up from 13.9% the week prior. There has been an average of 2,430 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 every day in the state.

Nine hospitals are 100% full, according to the latest state data. They include Beaumont in Wayne, ProMedica CV Hickman in Adrian, Spectrum Health's Hospitals in Grand Rapids, Hastings, Reed City, Freemont, St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor, Livingston and Sturgis Hospital. Another 20 hospitals are above 90% full.

About 71% of residents aged 16 and older have received their first doses of a vaccine. When including children ages 5 and older, 61% have received first shots in the state.

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 106,000 children, or 13%, have received their first dose in Michigan.

More than 1.2 million booster doses of the vaccine 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 2% of those fully vaccinated have been reported with a breakthrough infection, according to the state health department.

There were 145 new outbreaks from last week mainly at schools, daycares and long-term care facilities. Transmission levels remain highest for those aged 30-39.

There were 98 new outbreaks at K-12 schools in Michigan last week for a total of 534 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 183 cases in the state, and the majority, or 71%, are in the ICU. There have been five deaths.

The delta variant, which is estimated to be twice as infectious as the original strain, is attributable to nearly all new coronavirus cases. 

On Friday, the World Health Organization designated a new “variant of concern,” stemming from South Africa and naming it “omicron” after a letter in the Greek alphabet.

South Africa Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days.

From just over 200 new confirmed cases per day in recent weeks, South Africa saw the number of new daily cases rocket to more than 3,200 Saturday. It's unclear when the omicron variant first emerged but has now been identified in travelers arriving in several countries, from Australia to Israel to the Netherlands

The virus is blamed for more than 777,000 deaths and 48.1 million confirmed infections in the United States.

The state considered 1,090,933 million people recovered from the virus as of Nov. 23. 

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_