LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan tops 123,000 COVID-19 cases today as state health officials report 898 new cases and 20 new deaths.
Of the deaths announced today, four were identified in a vital records review.
Today in a public briefing, Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered an address in the Upper Peninsula’s Houghton County to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and response to the community’s increase in cases.
“We are very concerned with the numbers we are seeing in the Upper Peninsula, especially the southwest Upper Peninsula. There has been a sharp increase in cases due to community spread. Several counties in the U.P. have more than 70 cases per million and there are new and ongoing outbreaks in K-12 schools, universities, bars, and restaurants,” said Gov. Whitmer.
Gov. Whitmer calls the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the Upper Peninsula is “very concerning” due to Upper Peninsula hospital’s limited capacity.
- Children and young adults of color are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates
- Gov. Whitmer announces 4 million free masks to be distributed to vulnerable populations
While Black residents only make up 15% of Michigan’s population, they represented a staggering 29.4% of the cases and 40.7% of the deaths in the early days of tracking COVID-19 data based on race.
In the past two weeks of available data, the state has seen significant progress in limiting the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, with Black residents accounting for 8.2% of cases and 9.9% of deaths.
“We have reason to be proud of the hard work and progress made to reduce the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black people,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said.
Lt. Governor Gilchrist and Gov. Whitmer attribute the reduction in racial disparities to the actions taken by Michigan’s COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, which was formed early on during the pandemic.
The task force’s broad-based representation and collaboration with State Departments facilitated actions, such as:
- Distributing large quantities of masks to the public;
- Launching a strategic communications and social media effort targeting communities of color;
- Collaborating with regional racial disparity task forces to share data and recommendations for additional actions;
- Increasing access to coronavirus testing in communities of color through drive-thru, walk-up, and mobile testing sites.