Michigan’s chief medical executive concerned that people are not getting tested for COVID-19


Michigan’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun provides an update on COVID-19 in the state and forthcoming vaccines during a Dec. 10, 2020, press conference in Lansing as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer looks on. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — At a live press briefing for COVID-19 updates, the state’s chief medical executive noted the encouraging downward trend of COVID-19 positivity rates but said she is concerned about the drop in the number of COVID-19 tests.

The concern came as Michigan today reported 1569 new daily COVID-19 cases with 12 deaths from over the weekend.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Michigan is averaging 35,000 tests per day compared with an average 60,000 tests per day back in November.

Due to this drop in number of tests, Dr. Khaldun is advising everyone who needs a test, has any symptoms or has come in contact with anyone who’s had COVID-19 to get a test.

She said testing is a critical way the state can determine the prevalence of the new variant’s spread within Michigan communities.

Dr. Khaldun added that it’s important for people to continue wearing masks and social distancing as the threat of the new COVID-19 variant, B117, is on the rise.

Michigan has documented 314 cases of the B117 variant across 19 different counties, and potentially more unidentified counties.

Health experts predict the B117 variant could be the dominant form of COVID-19 by the end of March.

Speaking to encouraging trends, Dr. Khaldun reported Michigan’s COVID-19 rate is one of the lowest in the midwest region with 95 cases per million, and that rate has been dropping for six weeks.

The percentage of Michiganders testing positive is now 3.5%, down from the 11%+ seen in the early winter months.

Of the available patient beds in hospitals, 5% are being used for COVID-19 patients and that number is decreasing as well.

In terms of vaccination rates, more than 1.9 million vaccines have been administered in Michigan.

That means 15.5% of Michiganders over age 16 have received one dose.

Meanwhile, 675,000 people are fully vaccinated with 2 doses.

Dr. Khaldun reported that 41% of people older than 75 have had at least one dose, and that the state is on its way to reaching its goal of vaccinating 70% of its 60 and older population as soon as possible.

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