GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has confirmed about 7,000 more cases of coronavirus as the state released data showing the state ranks sixth in the nation in number of new cases.
The state also recorded 81 more deaths linked to the virus, bringing the total to 9,405.
On Tuesday, labs in Michigan tested 42,304 samples for the virus and 5,575 came back positive, a rate of 13.18%.
The seven-day average of cases per million people per day in Michigan is above 430, more than three times higher than the spring peak but a slight decline from the previous week. The Jackson region is currently seeing the highest rate at nearly 550 new cases per million per day, followed by West Michigan and Southwest Michigan, both of which are seeing rates around 510.
West Michigan and Southwest Michigan, however, are seeing higher percentages of positive tests each day at more than 15%, while Jackson’s rate is about a percentage point lower.
The statewide seven-day average of that percentage is about 13.5%. While that figure appears to have plateaued, it’s still more than four times the 3% that public health officials say demonstrates community spread is controlled.
A data breakdown from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Lyon-Callo released Wednesday said that as of Friday, the state ranked sixth in the nation in number of cases and 20th in case rates in the most recent seven-day period. Both those were an improvement over the previous seven-day period.
As of Wednesday, state data showed 4,240 hospital inpatients were either suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health said it had 308 patients, a decline of one from the previous day.
The state ranks seventh in the nation both in terms of total COVID-19 hospitalizations and in the number of COVID-19 inpatients in intensive care. As of the end of November, statewide, about 30% of adults in the ICU had COVID-19.
Michigan is averaging more than 60 deaths per day in the last seven days. The state is third in the nation in number of deaths and sixth in the the rate of deaths, MDHHS said, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control COVID Data Tracker.
While the 30-49 age group is currently contracting the virus at the highest rate, those over 80 are still the most likely to die after getting it, followed by those over 70. Those who are Black have the highest case fatality ratio of any race group, though the disparity has lessened since March and April.
The state says it is now averaging about 66,200 tests daily, though that figure dropped over Thanksgiving weekend as fewer people sought a test. You can find a testing site near you at Michigan.gov/coronavirustest. Results are typically turned around in about three days, MDHHS says.
STATE EXPECTS TO SEE THANKSGIVING EFFECT SOON
While the numbers in key metrics are still high, they are showing slight improvements. The MDHHS data released Wednesday shows more people have recently been staying home, which helps limit the virus’ spread.
During a Tuesday press conference with the governor, Michigan’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun expressed cautious optimism about the status of the outbreak. However, she was also worried about a pending spike linked to people traveling or gathering for Thanksgiving.
“That is one thing I am very concerned about, is that people may have gathered or traveled over the Thanksgiving break. Any increases in cases from the Thanksgiving holiday we would not expect to see for two to three weeks in our data,” Khaldun explained.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was also anticipating an increase in cases and said it was likely we would see another one after the December holidays.
Both she and Khaldun, like the federal government, urged people not to travel for December holidays and to celebrate only with their households. They also reminded people to follow the basic virus mitigation protocols public health officials have been touting for months.
Whitmer said her administration expects to make a decision early next week about whether to extend a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemic order that restricted indoor gatherings, including a ban on dining in at restaurants, the closure of movie theaters and bowling alleys, and the requirement that high schools, colleges and universities go virtual. Those restrictions are currently set to run through Tuesday.
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