Michigan adds 13,686 cases, 392 deaths from COVID-19 over two days
Michigan added 13,686 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 392 deaths from the virus on Wednesday, including totals from Tuesday.
The additions bring the state totals since the pandemic began to 1,448,523 confirmed cases and 26,376 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The state averaged 6,843 cases per day over the two days. Of the latest deaths reported, 250 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.
On Monday, the state health department reported 3,896 adults were hospitalized with confirmed virus infections and 48 children. That tally has been trending upward since July but lessened slightly this week.
On Dec. 13, the state health department reported 4,518 adults were hospitalized with confirmed virus infections, the highest number during the pandemic so far.
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 three in four 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.
As of Tuesday, eight cases of the highly contagious variant have been identified in Genesee, Kent, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne and Oakland counties, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Omicron is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday.
“As Omicron becomes the dominant COVID-19 variant in the United States, we all have to step up this holiday season to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday. “Our hospitals and health care workers have been working tirelessly to save lives, and we are in for a tough four to six weeks.
"We must all take action to protect ourselves and help our healthcare workers and hospitals do their jobs... If you still have not gotten vaccinated yet, know that it is not a matter of if you will get sick but of when."
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, 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 2,012 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 every day in the state.
About 63%, or 6.2 million, residents have received their first doses of a vaccine, as of Tuesday. So far, more than 164,000 children ages 5 to 11 in Michigan, or 20%, have received their first dose of the vaccine.
More than 2.1 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 state considered 1,201,233 million people recovered from the virus as of Friday.