GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has recorded about 1,500 more cases of coronavirus and 79 more associated deaths.
Of the 79 deaths announced Tuesday, 44 were discovered in a review of death certificates to find any that had not already been reported. In all, 14,405 deaths have been linked to it.
On Monday, labs in Michigan tested 26,359 samples for the virus and 1,870, or 7.09%, came back positive. While the positivity percentage is a little higher than it has been recently, the number of tests run was also lower and those two numbers are generally inversely proportional.
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.
Kent County recorded three more deaths for a total of 589 and confirmed 148 more cases, bringing its total to 46,006 since the start of the outbreak.
Several other West Michigan counties also recorded additional deaths:
- Allegan County: One more death for 81 total; 6,130 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.
- Branch County: One more death for 76 total; 3,286 total cases.
- Calhoun County: Two more deaths for 201 total; 7,674 total cases.
- Ionia County: Three more deaths for 60 total; 3,845 total cases.
- Montcalm County: Two more deaths for 81 total; 3,110 total cases.
- Muskegon County: Three more deaths for 286 total; 9,992 total cases.
- Ottawa County: One more death for 295 total; 19,801 total cases.
- St. Joseph County: One more death for 71 total; 3,877 total cases.
In Wayne County, which includes Detroit and has been hit hardest by the virus, 14 more deaths were recorded for a total of 3,741. The county added 277 more cases for a total of 89,349. Neighboring Oakland County has had 60,977 cases (202 more than the previous day) and 1,776 deaths (three more). Macomb County has had 52,422 cases (155 more) and 1,733 deaths (nine more).
Michigan continues to see several improving metrics. Its seven-day average rate of daily positive tests has dropped to 6% for the first time since late October. The case rate is on the downtrend after a post-Christmas rebound and plateau. Hospitalizations continue to decline and the number of deaths each day is slowly improving.
Still, the positive test rate is twice as high as the 3% threshold public health officials say shows community spread is controlled. The case rate is twice as high as it was at the beginning of September, when the virus was contained fairly well, the hospitalization rate per million people is more than three times higher and the number of daily deaths is five times higher.
The state is also seeing some cases of the coronavirus variant labeled B.1.1.7. Seventeen cases have been identified in Michigan, most of them in Washtenaw County.
“This variant is more easily spread from person to person, and that means that for any given case, it will likely infect more people and lead to more spread, and this means possibly more cases overall, more hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, explained at a Monday press conference in Lansing. “The good news, though, (is that) this variant does not yet appear to cause more serious disease. Our current tests can identify it and our current vaccines appear to work against it.”
She reminded people to wash their hands frequently, practice social distancing and wear a mask to help prevent the variant from really taking hold and to help fight the version of the virus we’ve been dealing with for months.
The vaccine rollout is moving forward, though slowly. Health and state officials blame a slow flow of vaccines from the federal government in to Michigan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said President Joe Biden inherited a “mess” from the Trump administration. She said Biden’s team is now working with vaccine producers to manufacture doses faster, but that it will take time.
“It’s not just like we can double output overnight,” Whitmer told News 8 Tuesday in a video call, citing the precision work of making the vaccines and the need for factory equipment made overseas. “They are ramping up … But the supply issue is what is going to mean how quickly we can increase dosages. There’s not a single vaccine in Michigan that hasn’t been either put in someone’s arm or scheduled to be put in someone’s arm. There’s no waste happening in our state. But we just need a lot more vaccines.”
The West Michigan Vaccine Clinic for the public opened at DeVos Place Convention Center Monday and is expected to administer about 8,000 doses this week. Allegan County said Tuesday it administered more than 1,000 doses at three clinics last weeks, and has started sending doses to Meijer to be administered.
With the number of doses coming in limited and appointments hard to get right now, health officials all over the state urge patience with the rollout. Many health departments and hospitals will let you register now for the vaccine so you can be notified when it’s your turn to schedule an appointment, but each provider has its own registration system. You can learn more about the process at VaccinateWestMI.com.