Coronavirus cases rising again in Michigan. That may not be bad news.

Michigan administered nearly 38,000 tests or coronavirus in the past seven days, up nearly a third from 28,400 the week before. A new order by the governor on Friday loosened restrictions on some businesses.

Michigan’s coronavirus cases climbed again Friday for the fourth consecutive day, but health experts say that may not be cause for serious concern. 

“The more you test, the more you'll find,” said Dr. Peter Gulick, an infectious disease expert at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

The increase coincided with a rise in testing, as Michigan administered nearly 38,000 in the past seven days, up nearly a third from 28,400 the week before. The percentage of those who tested positive dropped over that time to 23 percent from 41 percent.

“The more you test, the more you'll find,” said Dr. Peter Gulick, an infectious disease expert at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

That’s higher than the 3 percent to 12 percent the World Health Organization recommends for economies to reopen, but it is a step in the right direction, experts said.

The few days of case increases seem to have been driven by several factors.

  • Southeast Michigan continues to bear the brunt of COVID-19. In the past week, Detroit and Wayne County recorded about 1,900 cases, up 15 percent, while cases in Oakland County increased 14 percent to 783 and those in Macomb County jumped 18 percent to 771.
  • In west Michigan, cases nearly doubled in Kent County for the week, while they rose 72 percent in Kalamazoo County, 70 percent in Ottawa County and 50 percent in Muskegon County.
  • Cases at Michigan Department of Corrections facilities increased more than 200 on Friday, a 76 percent spike for the week to 973. 

Dr. Joseph Eisenberg, chair of the epidemiology department at the University of Michigan, said a few days of data don’t offer much insight during a pandemic.

“The variability in the disease process is huge, and that’s even if we have perfect testing,” Eisenberg said.


Additionally, national labs processing large numbers of tests sometimes dump a bunch of results at once, said Dr. Russell Faust, medical director for Oakland County.

“As that happens you get these little mini-blips and you don’t have a smooth graph of data,” he said.

Oakland County administered 800 tests this past week, and has “really lowered the bar” for people who want to get a test to include asymptomatic first responders, health care workers, and essential workers, Faust said

More than a month ago, testing was restricted mostly to those with severe symptoms, and it required a doctor’s prescription. But “an enormous proportion” of people with COVID-19 do not manifest the typical symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, he said. 

Faust said he’s cautiously optimistic about the drop in the percent positive rate, but warns that it’s too soon to tell if that’s a true indication of the disease dying down. 

That’s because both the number of tests administered and the demographics of the people being tested have changed, making it difficult to truly compare early results with those seen now. 

At U-M, Eisenberg agreed: Truly understanding the virus’ direction in Michigan requires a longer look than a few days’ worth: “There’s a lot of noise in the data,” he said.


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Geoffrey Owen
Fri, 04/24/2020 - 8:07pm

What an I missing here! 41% of 38400 is nearly 12000. And 23% of 28000 is 6600. Isn't that 18600 cases in two weeks. Article says Oakland county is only testing health workers? Cases doubling in other counties. The governor buckled under pressure of the Michigan Republicans. I live up North. Traffic just tripled today and no one is wearing a mask. People need to get their heads out of Fox News and keep safe. By May 1 we will be over 42000 cases and 4000 deaths. Too many people think this is a hoax. Good luck with that.

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 10:01am

38400 X 41% = 15,744. and 28000 X 23% = 6,440 15,744 +6,440= 22184!
But you are right about that Closet republican governor bending to the will of the republicans!!!

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 5:14pm

No way you are up north, people are smarter than that up there.

NY tested a random sample and found that at least 20% of new yorkers have already had it - And that test produces a SIGNFICANT number of false negatives. By those numbers, coronavirus is not as bad as the flu like the sane people in this country have been saying all along.

Chill out and if you don't like living around freedom and liberty, move to a democrat run city. And for pete's sake, don't snitch on your neighbors to the stasi - I think they hang people for treason like that "up north".

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 8:54pm

Here is an easy way to figure out if rising numbers infected by Kung Flu is a bad or good thing. If you can spin increased numbers to make Trump look bad, it's a bad thing. If you can spin the increased numbers to make Democrats look good, it's a good thing.

It's not a complicated formula. You can do the same thing with the Science. If the referenced and unnamed and previously wildly inaccurate studies or models support a Democratic talking point, it's good science. If the data, results, actual numbers, and real studies don't support a Democratic talking point, it's fake news and bad.

Sun, 04/26/2020 - 11:08pm

Somebody's been sneaking an extra glass of hydroxychloroquine Kool Aid. Nobody needs to "spin" anything to make your cult leader look bad, he does it all by himself everytime he opens his mouth. The best thing any of us can do it think for ourselves, use common sense and don't believe everything you hear or read.

Safety First
Fri, 04/24/2020 - 10:09pm

I'm sure the protesters and churchgoers also contribute to the increase in cases. Good luck with your herd immunity. I'm staying in except for walks outside, essential items, and emergencies whether the economy is open or not, and I'll always wear a mask for my safety and the safety of others who maybe too close. You people want the economy open, but most smart people will not patronize your businesses unless they feel safe and you won't have employees unless you protect them. Lastly, don't expect anymore government cheese if you are open and don't complain that your taxes are too high. If you are open, then shut up and mind your business. You people are such whiners, never happy. You should just do essential work and stop complaining. Just saw Shirkey on Off the Record. That twit said you can get hurt just getting out of bed. WTF Does that leader of the senate know what a worldwide pandemic is?????? That kind of ignorance has to go. At least he's making a lot of money on the side manufacturing PPE. See, just follow your leader.

Al Dullpound
Sat, 04/25/2020 - 12:17pm

You can get hurt getting out of bad. A quick google search shows that in the United States in the year 2000 that 650 died from falls from a bed, leading to a 1 in 5508 lifetime possibility that this could be you. There is risk in everything that we do in life. Are you just learning this now?

middle of the mit
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 12:04am


Are any of those things you mentioned contagious?

That means you contract them and distribute them without you even knowing, don't ya?

This is why we have specialization.

Can you figure that out?

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 7:36am

Here's my response to Michigan's Republican's in Lansing pushing for reopening as a political maneuver regardless of the subsequent results; Michigan surpasses 3,000 deaths due to coronavirus and rising.

Wed, 04/29/2020 - 12:03pm

1,547 people died of suicide in 2018. A study from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, based in Grand Rapids, predicts a 32% increase due to the shut down. That's 2042 people predicted to die this year alone. These are not people over the age of 70 with 4 or more critical health conditions (which is half of the COVID deaths)- these are largely young people. So the number that will die of suicides alone is almost as many as from the virus. Once deaths from drug and alcohol abuse is added in, and delayed cancer screenings, and canceling of preventive medicine, and less vaccinations.... the death toll from the shut down will be far higher than that of the virus.

A Yooper
Sat, 04/25/2020 - 1:36pm

Statistics ; and predictions are all conjecture at this point in time.
Follow the epidemiologists recommendations, plain and simple!

Sun, 04/26/2020 - 10:23am

Now that we've taken and succeeded at the understandable course to flattened the "curve", (Look at largely idle empty hospitals, laid off healthcare workers). Seems now that the alternative outcomes are:
1) Unexpectedly quick develop of effective vaccine or treatment. Assumes this is even possible.
2) Big majority of people will get virus leading to "herd immunity" Assumes some causalities and vulnerable people requiring prolonged and likely futile efforts.
3) Hope for some unexplained, unanticipated outcome to change course of virus: weather, mutation drastic forecasting or expertise error. And it goes away for some unanticipated reason! Recognizes we know far from everything about this virus!

Whether we continue closing the economy for 2,3, 6 or 12 months, masks or no masks, testing or no testing, and wipe out a large percentage of businesses - years of people's time and monetary investment seems unlikely to change or effect the fore mentioned eventual outcomes.

middle of the mit
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 12:08am


Watch as the cases start rising in Northern MI. And then those who came up here to get away from it, and brought it up here, LEAVE BECAUSE IT CAUGHT A FOOTHOLD.

And then watch as it rises again in the cities that you call your home, after you left your get aways.

Mark my word Matt.

I am.

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 12:24pm

Without a vaccine it will work its way through the population regardless of what anyone does may be slower may be faster, but fate is certain so live your life or stay home, your choice.
You are always telling us how you love nature! Here's nature and survival of the fittest at its finest at work.

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 10:24am

Fine article, one critique, though - those bullets aren't "factors" they're just statistics. A factor would be "cases in XY, Michigan increased 30 percent, potentially due to protests."

Alex Chance
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 10:13pm

Matt, there is far more evidence that you personally have spread the virus to others than the protests did. Because there is no evidence the protests spread it. Not a single shred of evidence. On the other hand, you're frequent trips visit your 'girls' probably aren't that safe, now are they? We know.