State: 2,000 more coronavirus cases, test positivity keeps dropping

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has reported 2,057 more confirmed cases of coronavirus and 112 additional related deaths.

Of the deaths announced Thursday, 73 were found when health officials checked the state death certificate database to find any that had not already been reported to the state.

In all, Michigan has now recorded 871,569 total virus cases since it was first detected here 14 months ago and 18,467 deaths.

On Wednesday, labs tested 39,954 samples for the virus and 2,552 were positive, which works out to 6.39%. That’s the lowest positivity rate since March 17.

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 two more deaths for a total of 740 and confirmed 159 more cases for a total of 66,455.

Deaths were added to the totals in several other West Michigan counties:

  • Allegan County: One more death for 116 total; 9,680 total confirmed cases since March 2020.
  • Barry County: Two more deaths for 61 total; 5,218 total cases.
  • Berrien County: One more death for 257 total; 13,582 total cases.
  • Branch County: One more death for 92 total; 4,259 total cases.
  • Kalamazoo County: Four more deaths for 341 total; 19,673 total cases.
  • Newaygo County: One more death for 59 total; 4,366 total cases.
  • Oceana County: One more death for 57 total; 2,570 total cases.
  • Ottawa County: One more death for 364 total; 29,633 total cases.

The total number of deaths in Muskegon County was revised down by two to 334. This has not been uncommon as cases are double-checked and sometimes moved between counties. Muskegon County has had 14,928 total cases.

Wayne County, the state’s largest county and the one with the most cases and deaths, reported 22 more deaths for a total of 4,559 and 359 more cases for a total of 148,951. Neighboring Oakland County has had 99,786 cases (324 more than the previous day) and 2,163 deaths (24 more). Macomb County has had 90,056 cases (173 more) and 2,217 deaths (12 more).

Even though Michigan still has the highest case rate and hospital bed utilization of any state in the nation, its key metrics are steadily improving.

The seven-day average of test positivity rate has dipped below 10% for the first time since March 23. The average case rate has been cut in half since the peak of the most recent surge and is now lower than it has been since March 9. The hospital inpatient census has dropped more than 30% since the April 19 peak. The rate of deaths is no longer climbing.

Vaccinations, however, have slowed in recent weeks and the increases in people getting their first doses are now at a crawl. More than 7.5 million doses have been administered in Michigan and the percentage of residents 16 and up with at least one dose is a little higher than 55%.

The state is now aiming to hit 60%, which would trigger step two of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s promised loosening of restrictions — higher capacity limits at stadiums, conference centers, funeral homes and gyms and no more curfews at bars and restaurants. At the rate we’re going, getting to 60% will take weeks.

Children as young as 12 can now also be vaccinated. For now, that population is not being factored into the percentage linked to loosened restrictions.

“The COVID vaccine is safe, it is effective, it prevents disease and it saves lives,” Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, who became well-known for her work during the Flint water crisis, said at a Thursday morning press conference hosted by the state. “I would also say that I trust this vaccine so much that my own children have gotten this vaccine.”

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