Michigan adds 1,558 cases, 95 deaths from COVID over 2 days

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan added 1,558 cases of COVID-19 and 95 deaths from the virus on Wednesday, including totals from Tuesday.

The state reported an average of 779 cases per day over the two days.

Wednesday's additions bring the state's overall total to 2,074,568 confirmed cases and 32,714 deaths since the virus was first detected here in March 2020.

Hospitalization rates in Michigan have been on the decline for the last nine weeks, but cases have been on the incline for one week since January. 

Between March 11-18, about 4.6% of Michigan's COVID-19 tests returned positive. There is an average of 5,220 weekly cases in the state.

The latest figures come as the state and several Michigan counties have relaxed regulations to stem the spread of the virus.

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State employees in standard office and outdoor settings are generally no longer required to wear masks while working, effective last week.

Health departments including Wayne, Washtenaw and Oakland counties lifted COVID-19 orders related to K-12 schools in February; however, in Detroit, where transmission remains high, the recommendation is to continue masking.

On Monday, the state reported 510 adults and 18 pediatric patients were hospitalized with confirmed infections and 77% of the state's inpatient hospital beds were occupied. 

It's a steep decline from records set on Jan. 10, when 4,580 adults were hospitalized with COVID-19. 

About 4% of the state's hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients and there were an average of 955 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 per day in the state as of Monday. That compares to 24% of hospital beds being full and 2,889 daily emergency room visits due to the virus in the first week of January.

However, six Michigan counties remain at a "high" level for the increased burden on health care or severe disease: Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Presque Isle, St. Clair and Sanilac, according to the state health department.

Case counts continue to drop from early January when the state set a new high mark with more than 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day.

Coming off the highest case numbers of the entire pandemic, all of Michigan's regions are experiencing declines in case rates and hospitalizations, the state health department noted earlier this month.

Three medical teams from the Department of Defense remain in Michigan at Covenant Saginaw, Henry Ford Wyandotte and Lansing-based Sparrow Health System.

In Michigan, variants of the virus have moved at a high rate, proving more contagious than past variants and infecting both unvaccinated and vaccinated residents.

The state, as of Friday, confirmed 5,664 cases of the omicron variant and 31,000 cases of the delta variant by genetic sequencing at the Michigan Bureau of Laboratories in Lansing. The majority are in southeast Michigan. 

Although a small percentage of tests are selected for genetic sequencing, health officials believe 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 percentage of COVID-19 tests returning positive in Michigan is on the decline. Minnesota and Indiana have the highest case rates in the Midwest; California and Texas have the highest case rates in the U.S.

Residents ages 30 to 39 currently have the highest case rate of any age group.

As of Monday, 25 new outbreaks were reported over the prior week. The majority, 16 outbreaks, were in long-term care facilities and senior assisted living centers. Another five outbreaks occurred in K-12 schools. The state is tracking 46 ongoing outbreak cases.

About 65%, or 6.5 million, state residents have received their first doses of a vaccine, as of Friday, and 59% are fully vaccinated. More than 225,000 children ages 5 to 11 in Michigan, or 27%, have received their first dose of the vaccine.

More than 3 million vaccine booster doses have been administered in Michigan. 

Approximately 2% of those fully vaccinated have been reported with a breakthrough infection, according to the state health department.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_