Michigan virus cases up as state expands vaccine eligibility

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FILE – In this Thursday, March 11, 2021, file photo, a health worker loads syringes with the vaccine on the first day of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being made available to residents at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles. California officials say much of the state will be able to reopen next week to indoor activities as coronavirus case rates remain low. At the same time, more than 4 million residents with certain disabilities or health concerns become eligible for a vaccine. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan is set to expand vaccine eligibility starting Monday, a move that comes as public health experts voice fresh concerns about the state’s rising COVID-19 infection rate.

Residents age 50 and older will be eligible for vaccines starting Monday. Ford Field in Detroit is set to open Wednesday as Michigan’s first federally run mass vaccine site.

However, the state’s COVID-19 cases have been increasing. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said the state’s case rate spiked 77% over the past four weeks to 172.9 cases per million people.

“I am quite worried that we’re entering another surge,” Dawn Misra, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, told The Detroit Free Press. “If you’ve been watching the numbers the last couple of weeks … you could just see it all coming.”

Michigan reported 3,730 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the most since Jan. 8, according to the newspaper. On Saturday, it reported 2,660 new cases, compared with 1,659 a week earlier. Overall, the state has confirmed nearly 16,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Jury trials were supposed to resume Monday in Oakland County but court officials scrapped those plans because of the spike in COVID-19 cases, according to the Royal Oak Tribune.

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