Michigan adds 44,524 cases, 56 deaths from COVID-19 over 3 days

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan on Monday added 44,524 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over three days and 56 deaths from the virus, including cases from Saturday and Sunday.

The state averaged 14,841 cases per day over the three days.

The additions bring the state totals to 1,681,135 confirmed cases and 27,878 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The newest additions come three days after the state set a record of more than 20,000 cases per day on Friday, up from 13,673 new cases per day on Wednesday.

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 driving up hospitalizations.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also reported 4,580 adults were hospitalized with confirmed infections,the highest number during the pandemic so far. About 81% of the state's inpatient hospital beds are occupied.

Monday's inpatient tally breaks the previous record set on Dec. 13, when the state health department reported 4,518 adults were hospitalized with confirmed virus infections.

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. 

On Monday, 108 children were hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases. That's down from a high on Friday of 110 children hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of the virus. 

About 26% of hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients and there were an average of 2,643 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 every day in the state.

Based on recent data from most Michigan health systems, Michigan's Health and Hospital Association found that 88% of COVID patients are unvaccinated, 85% of COVID deaths are in unvaccinated individuals. 

Beaumont Health, Michigan's largest hospital system, warned Thursday that it had reached a "breaking point" amid the surge, and a federal medical team is extending its 30-day commitment to its Dearborn location an additional 30 days. 

The number of the eight-hospital system's COVID-19 patients increased by about 40% over the past week to 750 patients. About 65% of those hospitalized in the 3,375-bed system are unvaccinated while about 8% have received a booster, according to hospital officials. 

More than 430 of Beaumont's 33,000 employees are out with COVID-19 symptoms. The health system, meanwhile, said it is asking its hospitals to reduce elective procedures, testing and outpatient imaging to focus more care on COVID, oncology, trauma and acute care patients.

The federal government Friday granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's request for additional staffing help at Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte to treat a surge of COVID-19 patients and others in need of care.

The hospital is the fifth in Michigan getting federal help amid the ongoing pandemic. 

The 30-member team, which will include advanced practice physicians, ED and ICU nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, and logistics and supply chain personnel, will begin treating patients Monday and provide support for the next 14 days.

Department of Defense teams are also deployed in Michigan at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw and Mercy Health Muskegon. 

Bob Riney, president of healthcare operations and Chief Operating Officer at Henry Ford Health System, noted Friday that the hospital's team members are "battle wearied and drained emotionally, mentally and physically."

"This support couldn’t have come at a better time for us, as well as the Downriver communities we serve," he said. 

Michigan identified its first case of the highly contagious omicron variant in Kent County two weeks 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 named it “omicron” after a letter in the Greek alphabet.

Omicron variant driving rise in cases

The state, as of Friday, has confirmed 486 cases of omicron by genetic sequencing at the Michigan Bureau of Laboratories in Lansing. The majority are in southeast Michigan. But experts say that a greater number of people are likely infected because only a small percentage of samples of the virus are sequenced. Roughly 95% of cases of COVID-19 in the country are caused by the omicron variant, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 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.

Michigan's latest data

Michigan remains at a high transmission rate and the state's percent of tests returning positive has increased. In the last seven days, Michigan reported the 11th most cases.

Statewide positivity is 30%, as of last week, an increase from 21% on Dec. 31.

Case rates are highest for 20-29-year-olds, as of last week.

Cases among pediatric populations have also increased 24% since last week. There have been 196 cases of a rare inflammatory condition formed in children from the COVID-19 virus where multiple organ systems become inflamed or dysfunctional. Of the cases, 138 were admitted to the intensive care units and there have been five deaths.

In October, unvaccinated people in the state had 4.3 times more likely of testing positive for the virus and 13 times more likely risk of dying. The risk of infection and death is lower for those who receive a booster dose.

About 63.8%, or 6.3 million, residents have received their first doses of a vaccine, as of Wednesday. So far, more than 181,000 children ages 5 to 11 in Michigan, or 22%, have received their first dose of the vaccine.

More than 2.3 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 1,342,025 people recovered from the virus as of Friday. 

Staff Writer Beth LeBlanc contributed.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_