Michigan confirms about 1,800 virus cases over weekend


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan reported 1,769 more confirmed coronavirus cases over the last two days, as well as 11 deaths related to the virus.

The Monday update from the state, which includes two days’ worth of data, brings the total number of confirmed cases to 569,417 since the virus was first detected in Michigan in March 2020 and the total number of related deaths to 14,905.

On Saturday, labs in Michigan tested 19,628 samples for the virus and 725 — or 3.69% — were positive. On Sunday, 32,027 samples were tested and 1,584 were positive, which works out to 4.95%.

The number of positive tests is not the same as the number of new cases because people may be tested more than once. Additionally, testing numbers are from a single calendar date, while the number of new cases lists the increase since the last time the state compiled the data; these two time frames do not match up precisely.

The state has recorded 32 more outbreaks in educational settings, bringing the total number of outbreaks at K-12 schools, colleges and universities to 131. Most outbreaks at K-12 schools are small, with fewer than 20 people affected. The larger outbreaks are at universities.

Michigan’s positivity, case, hospitalization and death rates are all coming down. The case and positivity rates have been down for about three weeks.

The state ranks 22nd in the nation for the highest number of cases, moving up one spot from the previous week, and 47th in highest case rate, moving up two spots.

The percentage of hospital beds serving COVID-19 patients has dropped to 7.3%. The state now ranks 37th in the nation for percentage of total beds serving COVID-19 patients and 16th in number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

The state ranks 18th in number of deaths.

With the key metrics getting better, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services last week gave the OK for contact winter sports seasons to begin. Games start Monday for basketball and hockey; the first competitive cheer and wrestling meets are Friday.

One of the biggest concerns now is the increasing number of cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant in Michigan. Dozens of cases have been identified, including four in Kalamazoo County, one in Kent County and four in Calhoun County.

While that variant, which was initially found in the United Kingdom, is more transmissible than the dominant strain, it does not currently appear to cause more serious illness and the COVID-19 vaccines the U.S. is using are effective against it.

“Fundamentally, this is a race for the coverage of our population; a race that pits vaccination efforts against the transmission of infections,” Kent County Health Department Health Administrative Officer Adam London told News 8 Sunday. “The B.1.1.7 variant is giving the virus increased velocity.”

Meijer, which has been tapped to help distribute the vaccine, said it will hold vaccination clinics around the state this week and expects to administer 25,000 doses to people 65 and older.

Since it started giving shots on Jan. 15, Meijer has administered more than 20,000 doses in Michigan and an additional 10,000 doses in other Midwestern states, the company says.

You cannot simply show up at our local Meijer to get a shot. You must register through its website or by texting COVID to 75049 to get in line virtually. Meijer will then reach out to you when it’s your turn to make an appointment.

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