Michigan adds 11,722 cases, 330 deaths from COVID-19 over two days
Michigan added 11,722 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 330 deaths from the virus on Wednesday, including totals from Tuesday.
The additions bring the state totals since the pandemic began to 1,408,189 confirmed cases and 25,570 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The state averaged 5,861 cases over the two days. Of the latest deaths reported, 230 were identified during a vital records review, state health officials noted.
In recent days, Michigan's top health officials have described the state's COVID-19 situation as "critical," and urged vaccinations and boosters and masking amid a fourth surge of the virus that's bringing record levels of hospitalizations.
Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state's chief medical executive, said Friday that deaths tied to the virus were increasing, along with infection rates and hospitalizations.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects Michigan's weekly tally could reach as high as 1,000 deaths, but will likely remain at around 500-600 deaths each week of January.
So far this week, the state has added 27,865 cases, 490 deaths from the virus.
On Monday, the state health department reported 4,518 adults were hospitalized with confirmed virus infections, the highest number of the pandemic so far. The tally has been trending upward since July and has lingered above 4,000 for more than a week. There are also 48 children hospitalized with the virus.
During the surge in the winter of 2020, the number of adults hospitalized with confirmed infections peaked at 3,884 on Dec. 1. During the surge in the spring of 2021, the count was above 4,000 for only a handful of days.
Based on recent data from most Michigan health systems, Michigan's Health and Hospital Association found that 3 in 4 COVID patients are unvaccinated (76%), 87% of COVID ICU patients are unvaccinated and 88% of COVID ventilator patients are unvaccinated.
Last week, Michigan identified its first case of the highly contagious omicron variant in Kent County after it first was identified in the U.S. on Dec. 1. The World Health Organization designated it a new “variant of concern,” stemming from South Africa and naming it “omicron” after a letter in the Greek alphabet.
MDHHS 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. Last week, Michigan reported the most cases in the country over the prior week and it had the second-highest number of pediatric patients hospitalized.
About 23% of hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients and there has been an average of 2,050 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 every day in the state.
About 62%, or 6.2 million, residents have received their first doses of a vaccine, as of Tuesday.
Rollout 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 152,000 children, or 18%, have received their first dose in Michigan.
More than 1.9 million booster doses of the vaccine have been administered in Michigan. 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.
The delta variant, which is estimated to be twice as infectious as the original strain, is attributable to nearly all new coronavirus cases.
The virus is blamed for more than 799,000 deaths and 50.2 million confirmed infections in the United States.
The state considered 1,146,495 million people recovered from the virus as of Friday.