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Michigan adds 13,999 confirmed cases, 160 deaths from COVID-19 over three days

The Detroit News

Michigan added 13,999 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 160 deaths from the virus on Monday, including totals from Saturday and Sunday. 

The additions bring the state totals since the pandemic began to 1,434,837 confirmed cases and 25,984 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The state averaged 4,666 cases per day over the three days. Of the latest deaths reported, 63 were identified during a vital records review, state health officials noted.

Michigan's top health officials have described the state's COVID-19 situation as "critical," and are urging vaccinations and boosters and masking amid a fourth surge of the virus that's bringing record levels of hospitalizations.

Last Monday, the state health department reported 4,518 adults were hospitalized with confirmed virus infections, the highest number of the pandemic so far. That tally has been trending upward since July. 

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.

Michigan earlier this month 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.

By late last week, state health officials announced that several other cases of the variant had been identified in Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

MDHHS issued an advisory in November recommending people wear masks at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status. It remains in effect until further notice.

The state also has 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.

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 the COVID-19 pandemic. Those restrictions ended in June.

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.

Based on the state's most recent data from last week, about 23% of hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients and there were 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. So far, more than 152,000 children ages 5 to 11 in Michigan, or 18%, have received their first dose of the vaccine.

More than 1.9 million booster doses of the vaccine have been administered in Michigan. 

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 state considered 1,146,495 million people recovered from the virus as of Dec.10.