Michigan adds 16,901 cases, 147 deaths from COVID-19 over last week

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

The state added 16,901 cases and 147 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, including totals from the previous six days, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Michigan reported an average of about 2,414 cases per day over the last seven days, a 8% decrease from 2,625 cases per day a week prior. On Sept. 13, the state said it had added 18,375 cases and 196 deaths from the virus in the previous week. The state tally does not include those who test positive with an at-home test.

Dr. Preeti Malani, infectious disease professor at Michigan Medicine, told The Detroit News last week that a doubling in the number of deaths is not an indicator that the virus is becoming more lethal and the rate of infection has remained stable since the January wave.

"The death rate is still too high but reporting takes time. It can lag by a few weeks or a few months," Malani said. "The situation has changed from a few years ago. Older people are being treated but it does take longer for them to get better."

Listing COVID-19 as a diagnosis can lead to a reporting even if that individual didn't succumb to respiratory illness, she said. 

"COVID-19 creates a set of circumstances where people's health declines and they end up having other consequences that lead to death," she said. "It's like if an old person had a major fall and their health overall started to deteriorate. They didn't die from the fall but overall became weaker and died."

Michigan's data

On Monday, the state reported that 1,029 adults and 32 pediatric patients were hospitalized with confirmed infections, an increase from last week's 1,112 adults and 32 children. Inpatient records were set on Jan. 10, when 4,580 adults were hospitalized with COVID-19.

On Monday in Michigan, about 6.8% of the state's hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients, and there was an average of 1,255 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 per day in the state. That compares with 24% of hospital beds being full and 2,889 daily emergency room visits due to the virus in the first week of January.

Between Sept. 9-15, about 17% of Michigan's COVID-19 tests returned positive. 

All Metro Detroit health departments are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that recommend indoor masking for public settings and K-12 schools as the rate of infection has grown from "medium" to "high."

Tuesday’s additions bring the state's overall totals to 2,821,489 cases and 38,464 deaths since the virus was first detected here in March 2020.

The federal Food and Drug Administration earlier this month signed off on updated versions of the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) gave its approval, as did CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and is now available in Michigan. 

On Monday, President Joe Biden said the pandemic has come to an end, but at least 400 people are dying from the virus daily, The New York Times reports.

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As of Monday, 14 counties in Michigan this week are considered at a "high level" for the increased burden on health care or severe disease including Calhoun, Clare, Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Iron, Lapeer, Macomb, Midland, Schoolcraft, Shiawassee and Washtenaw.

The majority of Michigan counties have a "medium" transmission level, according to the state health department.

Case counts are well below early January, when the state set a new high mark with more than 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day.

Experts believe the next wave, similar to earlier this year, could be later in November as more people head indoors, Malani explained.

"Right now, it seems like everyone has COVID. It's not a hard thing to get but it's also hard to avoid it," Malani said. 

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

A new iteration of the omicron variant, BA.5, now is the dominant strain across the country, and thanks to its elusiveness when encountering the human immune system. The size of that wave is unclear because most people are testing at home or not testing at all. 

Antibodies from vaccines and previous COVID-19 infections offer limited protection against BA.5, leading experts to call it "the worst version of the virus that we've seen."

In Michigan, 313 cases of a rare inflammatory condition in children linked with the coronavirus have been reported to the CDC. About 63% of kids with the syndrome are admitted to intensive care units, and there have been five deaths.

As of Monday, 53 outbreaks were reported over the prior week, 29 of which were reported in long-term care facilities and 19 outbreaks in K-12 schools. The state is tracking 518 ongoing outbreak cases.

About 68% of state residents, or 6.8 million, have received their first doses of a vaccine, and more than 60% are fully vaccinated. More than 248,000 children ages 5-11 in Michigan, or 30%, have received their first dose of the vaccine.

More than 3.3 million individuals, or 36% of the eligible population, have received a vaccine booster in Michigan and 5.8 million are fully vaccinated.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_