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Michigan sets another daily record as COVID-19 surge grows

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Michigan's coronavirus case count continues to increase at a high rate as 6,940 cases were added on Thursday, breaking yet another daily case record. The state also added 45 deaths.

The new additions bring the state's total of confirmed cases to 236,225 and total confirmed deaths to 7,811, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The state may be on its way to a fifth consecutive week of breaking records for weekly cases. From Sunday to Thursday, Michigan has reported 28,431 cases.

The weekly high of confirmed cases was set last week at 29,614, shattering the record of 20,154 set the week prior. 

Along with the surge of cases reported, deaths from the virus have been steadily increasing as well. Michigan's fatality rate is at 3.3% as the state has already added 233 deaths this week and 221 deaths last week. 

Michigan’s record for deaths was reached on April 16 with 164. Deaths stayed near single digits each day from July through September but spiked again with 10-18 per day in early October. Deaths rose on Oct. 23 with 34; 43 on Nov. 3; 51 on Thursday; 65 Saturday, and 84 Tuesday.

On Wednesday, 67,354 test were reported in the state and of those, 59,078 came back negative, giving the state a 12.29% positivity rate. 

The surge in cases is being accompanied by a rise in hospitalizations. 

As of Thursday, the state reported 3,186 people were hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of the virus. Of those hospitalized, 253 people were on ventilators and 590 were in intensive care units. 

On Wednesday, Wayne County health officials announced that the county's hospitals were running above 75% of capacity. Officials added that an increase to 80% or greater could force restrictions in hospital services.

"We're now up to 5% infection rate in Detroit and 10% in the suburbs; four weeks ago it was one or 2% in Detroit," said Detroit mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday. "Detroit's got the lowest infection rate in the state so our hospitals are still OK today but in a matter of three to four weeks, we'll be feeling the pressure too."

Chief executives of five major hospital systems across the state sounded the alarm Thursday about the "exponential" rate of infection spread as patients fill emergency rooms and hospital beds. Hospitalizations of virus patients are up more than five-fold over six weeks. The health care executives projected that Michigan will exceed the spring hospitalization peak late this month.

West Michigan hospitals are experiencing staffing and bed shortages and at least one west Michigan hospital has suspended elective surgeries and others have limited visitor access as they acknowledge a wave of cases that threatens to overwhelm the system.

Five of Trinity Health's eight Michigan hospitals are "pretty much full," said Dr. Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, chief clinical officer at Trinity.