Upper Peninsula reports 39 more coronavirus cases over 2 days

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has confirmed 1,265 more cases of coronavirus and recorded eight more deaths linked to it. 39 of those cases and 1 death are from the Upper Peninsula.

The Monday update, which includes two days’ worth of data because numbers are not updated Sunday, brings the total number of confirmed cases in Michigan to 575,489 since the virus was first detected here 11 months ago and the total number of associated deaths to 15,158.

On Saturday, labs in Michigan tested 20,602 samples for the virus and 664 were positive, which works out to 3.22%. On Sunday, 30,895 samples were tested and 1,089 were positive, a rate of 3.52%.

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 22 new outbreaks at schools, colleges and universities, bringing the total number to 135. The largest outbreaks are still at colleges, with those at K-12 schools generally affecting fewer than 20 people. However, among the new outbreaks is one at Forest Hills Central High School that includes 24 students and staff members.

The only reported COVID-19 related death from the weekend was reported in Baraga County.

  • Houghton County – 18 confirmed cases; 2,053 total cases
  • Delta County – 8 confirmed cases; 2,639 total cases
  • Marquette County 4 confirmed cases; 3,440 total cases

Wayne County, where Detroit is, confirmed 190 more cases for a total of 92,643. Its number of deaths was revised down by two to 3,867. This has not been uncommon as cases are double-checked and sometimes moved between counties.

Neighboring Oakland County has had 63,203 total cases (127 more since Saturday’s update) and 1,846 deaths (one more). Macomb County has had 54,051 cases (85 more) and 1,828 deaths (no change).

Michigan’s coronavirus metrics continue to improve, with the case rate better than it has been since September, the hospitalization rate better than it has been since October and the death rate, a lagging metric, lower than it has been since early November.

The seven-day average of daily test positivity rate has dipped below 4% for the first time since early October. Public health officials look for a rate below 3% to show community spread is controlled.

One of public health officials’ main concerns now is the variant labeled B.1.1.7, as dozens of cases have been found around the state in the last few weeks. B.1.1.7 spreads more quickly than the dominant strain and a new study from the United Kingdom, where it was first identified, found it is likely more deadly.

The good news is that the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the United States are believed to be effective against the variant. That makes the vaccine rollout even more critical.

“It’s really a race to get vaccines in arms right now,” Mercy Health Saint Mary’s medical director of infection prevention and control Dr. Andrew Jameson said during a virtual press conference last week. “You cannot mutate if you are not replicating.”

The state announced Monday that it is adding mortuary services workers to Phase 1A, which means they can start getting vaccinated, and that food processing and agricultural workers will be allowed to start getting vaccinated March 1.

Additionally, 41 federally qualified health centers in the state will start getting direct allocations of vaccines, part of the state’s goal to distribute shots equitably. On the same front, while the current age limit on phases is 65, the state says that providers with plans to reach underserved groups may also vaccinate those ages 60 and up.

So far, a little more than 2 million doses have been sent to Michigan. The state needs about 11.2 million doses to vaccinate its goal of about 5.6 million people.

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