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Coronavirus Tracker | Hospitalizations top autumn peak in some regions; cases inch down

Last updated: Monday, April 12 at 4:02 p.m. This post will be continuously updated with Michigan coronavirus locations and updated COVID-19 news.

Coronavirus cases as of April 12, 2021

For more interactive maps and charts, see the Michigan Coronavirus Dashboard, showing vaccine distribution information, case numbers, locations, deaths and demographics. 

Hospitals in three of Michigan’s eight health regions now have more COVID-19 patients than they did during the fall surge.

Statewide, there are 4,167 patients hospitalized, up from 343 from Friday. Hospitalizations peaked at 4,326 on Nov. 30 before declining through mid-February.

Related: Michigan colleges rush to get COVID vaccine in student arms amid surge

Hospitals in the two regions of metro Detroit, covering six counties, are treating more than 2,500 confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, up from a previous peak of 2,225 on Dec. 2.

Hospitals in Region 1, which covers nine counties from the Ohio border to north of Lansing in south-central Michigan, reported 357 COVID-19 patients, up from a peak of 335 on Dec. 8.

The increase comes as the state reported 9,674 new cases for Sunday and Monday, an average of 4,837 daily cases. Over the past week, the daily average is now 6,457, and has dipped each of the last three days.

The state also reported 12 deaths over the two days, bringing the pandemic total to 16,512. There have also been 747,697 confirmed cases.

The state reported 14.5 percent of nearly 69,000 tests came back positive. The seven-day rate is 16.1 percent and has fallen for three straight days. That rate had risen every day since Feb. 28 until Friday. — Mike Wilkinson


 


Saturday, April 10

6,892 new cases, 74 deaths

Michigan reported 6,892 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, along with 74 deaths.

The deaths include 57 that were added following a review of medical records. One of the added deaths was in January, 15 were in March and the rest in April.

Related: Workers weary, patients angry, as COVID fills Michigan hospitals — again

Since the pandemic began, there have been 16,500 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and another 1,063 probable ones.

Of the 44,400 tests reported Saturday, 15.9 percent came back positive; 16.6 percent of the past week’s tests have been positive. The state’s goal is to keep its positive test rate at 3 percent or lower. A high positive rate indicates more uncontrolled community spread of the deadly virus.

The state does not report hospitalizations or vaccination data on the weekends. — Mike Wilkinson


Friday, April 9

No new restrictions, 7,834 cases

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced no new COVID-19 restrictions but implored Michigan residents to take more precautions Friday, the state reported another 7,834 new confirmed cases and 26 additional deaths.

Michigan has averaged 6,763 new cases a day for the past week and is on pace to exceed the peak — just over 7,200 daily cases — of the fall surge.

There are no obvious signs that state case numbers have hit their peak: Michigan hospitals continue to see more patients and five of the state’s eight regions reported the highest number of COVID-19-related emergency room visits in the past four days.

At a media event Friday, the governor asked (but did not require) schools to take high school classes online for two weeks and youth sports to shut down for two weeks. She also encouraged state residents to avoid indoor dining.

Related:No new restrictions, but Michigan needs help amid COVID surge, Whitmer says

But she did not order any new restrictions, a departure from invocation of emergency powers in response to a similar increase in November, again noting that the state’s rising numbers of vaccinated residents is the difference. She pointed to the 3.1 million people who have at least started the vaccination process and, as of Friday, the more than 2 million who have completed it.

COVID-19 cases remain highest in the Thumb, with St. Clair County now reporting, on average, 146 cases per 100,000 residents, by far the highest rate in the state. Nearby counties, including Macomb, Sanilac and Huron are all over 100, well above the state rate of 68 per 100,000 residents.

Results from 52,300 COVID-19 tests reported across Michigan Friday showed 17.5 percent came back positive, putting the weekly average at 16.9 percent across the state, far above the state’s goal of keeping positivity rates at 3 percent or lower.

Five Michigan counties — Huron (38.7 percent), Sanilac (34.4), Tuscola (33.4), St. Clair (30.7) and Missaukee (30) — have positive test rates at or exceeding 30 percent. Another 24 counties are between 20 and 30 percent.

One piece of good news: More than 286,000 people sought virus tests in the past week, up from 233,000 in the first week of March.

There are now 3,824 people hospitalized for treatment of confirmed or suspected COVID-19, up over 1,000 since last Friday.

The hardest hit are the six counties of metro Detroit, which now have more COVID-19 patients than they saw during the fall wave, and the region that stretches from south-central Michigan to north of Lansing. — Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, April 8

73 deaths, 7,819 cases, as third wave rips Michigan

Michigan reported 73 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, the most since 85 were reported on Feb. 18.

The deaths include 43 that followed a review of medical records, but all of the reported deaths have occurred in the last two weeks. That underscores the lethality of the current surge, as Michigan has the highest infection and hospitalization rates in the country.

Related: University of Michigan postpones surgical procedures because of COVID-19 surge

Since the third wave began in mid-February, those younger than 60 comprised 16 percent of deaths, compared to 10 percent before then. Seniors 60 and older, who were among the first to get the vaccines, now make up 84 percent of deaths, down from 90 percent.

The biggest drop was among those 70 and older: from 74 percent of all deaths before mid-February to 64 percent since. Those 65 and above have the highest rates of vaccination in the state, according to the state.

Statewide, 3.1 million people have had at least one dose of the vaccine and 1.9 million have had either both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The state also reported 7,819 additional confirmed coronavirus infections on Thursday, pushing the seven-day average to 6,429, the highest since Dec. 5.

Of the 56,300 tests reported Thursday, 14.7 percent came back positive, the lowest rate in eight days. Michigan, however, still has by far the highest rate in the country. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, April 7

Michigan reports 8,015 cases

Michigan reported Wednesday another 8,015 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the eighth highest daily count since the pandemic began.

The state also reported 30 additional COVID-19 deaths, the most since 32 were reported Feb. 3 (excluding days when the totals included previous deaths based on an updated review of medical records).

Related: Michigan COVID hospitalizations again on the rise, but patients are younger

Michigan currently has the highest rate of new infections in the country, the highest percentage of positive tests and the most COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

The current surge is pushing hundreds of patients a day into hospitals, with COVID-19 patient loads in metro Detroit at or approaching levels from the second wave in the fall. 

Across the state, 3,595 patients were hospitalized Wednesday with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. It’s risen over 1,000, or 40 percent, in a week.

There were 1,006 adult COVID-19 patients Wednesday in hospitals in Wayne, Washtenaw and Monroe counties, about the same as on Dec. 7. There were more than 1,100 adult COVID patients in hospitals in Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties.

Central-southern Michigan, from the Ohio border to north of Lansing, is also approaching hospital patient levels reported in the fall, as is the northern lower peninsula. Hospitals in the Upper Peninsula and west Michigan are seeing more patients but remain well below the fall levels.

Case rates are highest in the Thumb counties, including St. Clair, and Macomb County. 

Excluding the earliest days of the pandemic when coronavirus testing was limited, the state reported its highest percent of COVID tests that came back positive — 17.9 percent — from 39,400 tests given. Over the past week, 16.2 percent of tests have been positive.

The state’s goal is to keep its positive test rate at 3 percent or lower. A high positive rate indicates more uncontrolled community spread of the deadly virus. — Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, April 6

More than 3,500 in hospitals with COVID, largest weekly jump since last spring

The number of Michigan people hospitalized for COVID-19 rose by more than 200 Tuesday — and by more than 1,100 people in the past week, a 45 percent climb. That is the highest one-week increase since the earliest days of the pandemic.

There are now 3,554 COVID patients in Michigan hospitals, up from 3,334 on Monday and 2,446 a week ago.

Related: Michigan school COVID outbreaks surge 47% in 2 weeks; some return to remote

Hospitals across the state — but particularly in metro Detroit and the lower peninsula — are seeing rising hospitalizations. Michigan has the nation’s highest rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations by far, with 308 patients for every million residents.

New York has the second highest rate at 266 patients per million.

The increase comes as the state reported 4,964 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, along with 58 additional deaths, 16 of which followed a review of medical records. All of the deaths occurred in March and April.

Michigan’s rate of new infections, also the nation’s highest, is hitting the Thumb region hardest. Four counties in the Thumb now have a positive testing rate above 30 percent: Sanilac (32.6 percent), Tuscola (32.5), St. Clair (31.6) and Huron (30.7).

The state’s goal is to keep its positive test rate at 3 percent or lower. A high positive rate indicates more uncontrolled community spread of the deadly virus. 

Only 17 of Michigan’s 83 counties have a positivity rate under 10 percent. In the past week, 15.8 percent of 285,000 COVID tests given across Michigan came back positive. On March 1 the weekly rate was under 4 percent.

No other state has a rate higher than 9.6 percent (South Dakota).

Mike Wilkinson


Monday, April 5

Michigan crosses 700,000 infections, leads nation in case, patient, positive rates

With 10,293 new COVID-19 infections reported Monday, Michigan has now exceeded 700,000 confirmed cases, with a total of 702,499 since the pandemic began over a year ago.

The reported cases cover the past two days amount to a 5,146 daily average. The state’s average daily rate over the past week, 5,961, is the highest for Michigan since early December. 

The state also reported 21 confirmed COVID-19 deaths Monday, bringing the total state COVID-19 deaths to 16,239.

Related: 246 infected, 3 dead from COVID-19 in Michigan despite being vaccinated

Michigan now leads the nation in its rate of new infections per 100,000 people, hospitalized patients per 100,000, and in the percentage of coronavirus tests coming back as positive, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of 67,000 tests reported Monday, 16.6 percent came back positive. Over the past week, 15.6 percent of more than 239,000 tests have come back positive. The had maintained as its goal to remain at 3 percent positive or lower. 

Cases remain high in counties north of Detroit, including St. Clair, Macomb and Lapeer and the Thumb counties of Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola. But they are rising in 63 of the state’s 83 counties.

Michigan also reported that nearly 3 million residents have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with 2.95 million having started the vaccination process. Of those, 1.8 million have completed the vaccination process, either by getting the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, April 3 

Michigan reports 8,400 COVID cases, positivity rate nears 18 percent

Michigan is amidst its worst outbreak of COVID-19 since the height of the second wave in December, reporting 8,413 new cases on Saturday — the sixth most ever — as the state’s test positivity rate approached 18 percent.

Three counties — Macomb (1,279), Oakland (1,183) and suburban Wayne (1,068) — exceeded 1,000 new cases. But cases in the state’s Thumb region also continue to soar. St. Clair County reported 378 cases, and is now averaging 129 daily cases per 100,000 people, the highest rate in the state.

Related:

The state reported 17.6 percent of the 48,300 tests reported Saturday came back positive. For the past week, the average positivity rate was 15.1 percent, the highest at any point in the pandemic after last spring, when testing was far more limited. 

The state’s goal during the pandemic is to keep the positivity rate at 3 percent or lower, which it has reached at times. A higher positivity rate indicates more community spread of the virus. 

Of the 57 deaths reported Saturday, 51 came after a review of medical records. All but two of the deaths occurred in March and April. One was recorded in December and another in January.

Despite the sharp jump in cases in Michigan, which currently has the highest rate in the nation, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has repeatedly indicated no new state restrictions are imminent.

She told reporters Friday that residents should continue to take advantage of the new coronavirus vaccines and remain vigilant by wearing masks, maintaining social distance and avoiding large gatherings. Mike Wilkinson


Friday, April 2

COVID hospitalizations rise 44 percent in week, Michigan reports 5,500 cases

Michigan hospitals continue to see a surge of COVID-19 patients, with 2,801 statewide patients on Friday, up 861 or 44 percent in a week.

The hospital caseload is rising fastest in metro Detroit where Macomb and St. Clair counties are seeing some of the highest infection rates.

Related: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer indicates no new MI COVID restrictions are coming

Overall the state reported 5,498 new COVID-19 cases and 20 additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday.

Out of the 37,900 COVID tests reported Friday across the state, 14.5 percent were positive. The state's goal is to get positivity rates down to 3 percent or less; a lower percentage indicates more control over community spread of the virus.

Michigan currently has the highest infection rate in the country and the highest percent positive rate. It ranks fourth in the number of COVID-19 patients per 1 million residents.— Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, April 1 

Michigan exceeds 6,000 COVID cases Thursday, has highest case rate in nation 

Michigan reported 6,036 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, pushing the seven-day average to 5,061, the first time the average has exceeded 5,000 since Dec. 12.

The state also reported 49 additional COVID-19 deaths Thursday, 33 which followed a review of medical records.

Related: COVID vaccine for kids edges closer to reality, as cases surge in Michigan

Michigan now has the highest case rate, per 100,000, in the nation and the highest percentage of all coronavirus tests coming back positive — 12.8 percent of the 53,300 tests reported Thursday came back positive, and the rate was 13.5 percent of all tests over the past week.

Hospitalizations also continue to mount. As of Thursday there were  2,712 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in Michigan hospitals. That’s up nearly 800 from last Friday and more than double the 1,310 that were hospitalized as of March 19.

Mike Wilkinson

Contagious Brazil COVID variant reaches Michigan

Another highly contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus has reached Michigan, state health officials said Thursday. 

A Bay County resident tested positive for the P.1 variant, also called the Brazil variant because it was first identified in travelers who flew out of that country in January. 

Related: Whitmer is holding off for now on Michigan COVID limits. Here’s why.

"This variant has been associated with increased transmissibility and there are concerns it might affect both vaccine-induced and natural immunity," the state health department said in a release. 

Michigan is averaging 4,945 daily cases over the past week, the steepest increase in cases in the country. Health officials continue to urge all Michigan adults to get vaccinated, and the department said available doses should also protect against the new variant. 

The Bay County Health Department learned of the variant on Wednesday, according to the release. It is investigating the infected individual's exposure history in an attempt to identify the source, and it is also recommending any recent contacts quarantine for 14 days. 

It's the second new variant identified in Bay County in as many weeks, according to health officer Joel Strasz, who said his department investigated three cases of the B.1.1.7 variant last week.

To date, Michigan has identified 1,468 cases of the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant in 51 different jurisdictions, along with seven cases of a B.1.135 South Africa variant.

Nationally, the CDC has reported 172 confirmed cases in 22 other states of the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil, where recent outbreaks have reportedly overwhelmed local hospital systems. - Jonathan Oosting


Wednesday, March 30

Michigan tops 6,300 COVID cases, highest since December 

Michigan reported 6,311 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest number of daily cases since Dec. 4 when 8,089 were reported.

The state is averaging 4,945 daily cases over the past week, the steepest increase in cases in the country.

Although it can take weeks or months to officially confirm daily death counts, the state reported 10 additional COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday.

Related: All is forgiven, Ohio*. Thanks for the COVID vaccine. Sincerely, Michigan.

The highest rates of new cases are occurring in Sanilac, St. Clair, Huron and Macomb counties, with Sanilac and St. Clair reporting over 100 new daily cases per 100,000 population. The rate is 99 new daily cases per 100,000 in Huron County and 89 new daily cases in Macomb.

Of the 40,900 tests reported Wednesday, 15.1 percent came back positive, marking the third straight day above 15 percent. Michigan now has the highest percentage of tests coming back positive in the nation. High test positivity rates indicate higher levels of community spread of the virus.  

Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, March 30

Positive coronavirus tests above 15 percent; Michigan reports 5,177 new cases

Michigan now has the highest rate of positive coronavirus tests in the nation after 15.4 percent of tests reported Tuesday were positive.

For the past week, 12.4 percent of tests were positive, the highest rate in the country.

Michigan also now has the second-highest rate of new infections per 100,000, trailing only New Jersey. It reported 5,177 cases on Tuesday, giving it a seven-day average of 4,680.

The state also reported 46 new COVID-19 deaths, 20 of which came after review of medical records. 

Although deaths lag infections by weeks, the sustained decline in deaths that began in the second week of December has ended and has started to rise again as hospitalizations — hitting 2,446 on Tuesday, up 126 from Monday — have doubled in less than two weeks.

Related: COVID raged in Michigan prisons. Life outside isn’t easy either for parolees.

Northern metro Detroit, in particular Macomb and St. Clair counties, and the Thumb region are experiencing the biggest increases. Macomb County is averaging just over 80 new daily cases per 100,000, almost as much as it had during the second wave in December.

St. Clair County is at 99 daily cases per 100,000 while Huron and Sanilac are at 96 and 95. In the past week, a  third of all tests in Huron and Sanilac county are coming back positive; it’s 26 percent in St. Clair, 25 percent in neighboring Lapeer and 21 percent in Macomb.

The biggest jump in hospitalizations is in the region that includes St. Clair and Macomb counties, with 836 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. There were just 400 COVID-19 patients in that region less than 10 days ago.

Mike Wilkinson


Monday, March 29

Whitmer tells providers to vaccinate 16 and up; surge continues

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday said providers administering the coronavirus vaccines should not turn away anyone even though only those 50 and older are currently eligible.

Whitmer had targeted April 5 for the day everyone 16 and older can sign up for a vaccine, but expanded it as Michigan is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks in the nation.

Her pronouncement Monday urges providers to prioritize older residents, who are most vulnerable to serious illness and death, but to fill any unused slots with whoever wants the vaccine.

“In an effort to ensure no vaccine goes to waste, we continue to ask providers to fill every vaccine appointment with someone 16 years or older,” said Whitmer spokesperson Robert Leddy in an email to Bridge Michigan.

The announcement came hours after Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and officials in Kalamazoo County opened up vaccines to anyone 16 and older.

The state is expected to receive its largest shipments of vaccines this week — over 500,000 doses — and has already started vaccination on over 2.6 million people, with nearly 1.5 million having had both doses.

But the state is experiencing a COVID-19 surge, sending hundreds more into hospitals across the state with over 4,400 new cases a day on average. The vaccines are looked at as a bulwark against the jump in cases.

Related: COVID outbreaks jump 20 percent in Michigan schools. More closures ahead?

Twelve states have lowered the age of eligibility to those 16 and older, according to a survey of states by the New York Times. Whitmer wants to vaccinate 70 percent — or 5 million people — of the 8 million Michigan residents who are 16 and up. — Mike Wilkinson

Michigan has highest positive rate in nation

Michigan now has the highest coronavirus positive test rate in the country, as 12 percent of the past week’s tests were positive, including 15.6 percent of those reported Sunday.

On Monday, Michigan reported 8,202 cases for Sunday and Monday — for an average of 4,101 per day — along with eight additional COVID-19 deaths.

In addition to the highest positive rate, Michigan has the second-highest rate of new cases, trailing only New Jersey, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of data compiled daily by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The surge has hospitalized 2,300 people in Michigan, up from 1,940 on Friday. That’s the second biggest jump since last May.

Most of that increase was reported in metro Detroit hospitals, with those in Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties reporting a 25 percent increase in three days.

Case rates are soaring in those counties too. Macomb County has a rate of 78 new daily cases per 100,000 people, up from 41 cases a week earlier, while the rate increased to 98 daily cases per 100,000 in St. Clair County from 63 and 49 per 100,000 from 29 in Oakland County.

Many of those infected are young and many of those hospitalized are younger than hospitals have seen in the previous waves.

In response, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday lowered the age of vaccine eligibility to 16 years old, a week in advance of when the state will officially drop the age to 16. — Mike Wilkinson

Related: Local transit systems in Michigan take lead on COVID vaccines for homebound


Saturday, March 27

554,000 vaccine doses expected 

Three coronavirus vaccine manufacturers are expected to ship more than 554,000 doses to Michigan this upcoming week, the most since mass vaccinations started in December.

The biggest increase comes from Pfizer, which is sending nearly 300,000 doses, about 30,000 more than its previous high. Moderna, as it has for over two months, is expected to ship just under 200,000 doses.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses. Michigan is also getting over 58,000 doses from Johnson & Johnson, which is a single-dose vaccine.

Overall, 2.5 million Michigan residents over 16 have received a vaccine dose— and half of those have done so in the past 30 days, according to state figures. 

Because of increasing supplies, Michigan — like many states — has lowered the age eligibility to get a vaccine. People 50 and up can now get them. As of April 5, everyone 16 and older will be eligible.

Michigan, which is amid the biggest surge of cases in the nation, reported another 4,670 cases Saturday and 22 additional COVID-19 deaths.

Michigan has the third highest overall rate in the country but its numbers have shot up faster than either New Jersey or New York, the states with higher rates of new daily cases per 100,000 people.

Michigan also reported Saturday that 11.8 percent of over 42,000 tests came back positive. For the past week, over 10 percent of tests have been positive, also the third highest rate in the country.  — Mike Wilkinson

Related: Michigan tops U.S. in new COVID cases. Is it variants or just our turn?


Friday, March 26

Michigan surpasses 16,000 COVID deaths

Michigan reported 20 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, pushing the state’s total to more than 16,000 since the pandemic began last year.

The state also reported another 5,030 new confirmed coronavirus infections as it continues to record one of the fastest increases in new daily cases in the nation.

Over the past week, Michigan averaged 3,678 new cases a day — a 57 percent increase and more than double the 1,362 average daily cases two weeks ago.

And for the first time since Dec. 17, over 10 percent of the past week’s coronavirus tests came back positive, including 10.2 percent of those reported Friday.

Though case rates are rising across much of the Lower Peninsula, they went above 100 (106) per 100,000 in Huron County in the Thumb, where several school districts have seen outbreaks. 

The rate hit 83 daily cases per 100,000 in nearby St. Clair County. In Macomb County, the state’s third most populous county, the new daily rate hit 60 cases per 100,000, up from 34 a week ago and just 10 daily cases per 100,000 a month ago — Mike Wilkinson

Related: Teacher retirements soar in Michigan schools amid COVID pandemic


Thursday, March 25

Michigan cases top 5,000

Michigan reported 5,224 new coronavirus cases Thursday, the most since 5,937 were reported Dec. 10.

The state also reported 49 new COVID-19 deaths, 30 of which came after a review of medical records.

Hospitalizations continued to climb, especially in the suburbs north of Detroit, with the state now reporting 1,858 patients being treated with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, up 278 or 17 percent since Monday.

The sudden rise has caused the Beaumont Health system in southeast Michigan to limit visitation of patients in its hospitals, effective Thursday, and triggered concern among hospital leaders across the state.

“We have noticed an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in metro Detroit over the past few weeks,” said Dr. Nick Gilpin, medical director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology for Beaumont Health.

The state reported that 9.8 percent of tests reported Thursday came back positive and 9.5 percent of all tests in the past week were positive.

Michigan has the fourth-highest rate of positive tests in the country and the third-highest rate of cases, according to daily data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. — Mike Wilkinson

Related: Michigan’s plan to get more Republicans to take COVID vaccine


Wednesday, March 24

More than 4,400 new cases

Michigan’s coronavirus surge surpassed 4,000 new cases for the first time in more than two months, with 4,454 new cases reported Wednesday.

The cases pushed the seven-day average to 3,122. Michigan now has the third-highest rate of new daily cases, surpassed only by New Jersey and New York. The last time Michigan saw this many cases was on Jan. 9 when it averaged 3,178 daily cases.

The state saw 11.3 percent of nearly 37,800 coronavirus tests come back positive, pushing the seven-day rate to 8.8 percent. That’s the fourth-highest rate in the country.

Outside of the Upper Peninsula, the increases are being seen across almost the entire state, from metro Detroit to the Thumb to central and northern Michigan. Public health officials believe variants like the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom is playing a role; it is considered more transmissible than the predominant strain of the coronavirus.

The spikes have caused widespread outbreaks in schools and have triggered an increase in hospitalizations. Because deaths lag two weeks or more after infections, it is still too early to tell if this wave, the state’s third sustained one since the coronavirus struck the state in March 2020, will be as lethal as those in the spring of 2020 and again from October through January.

All told, 15,935 Michigan residents are confirmed to have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The state reported 16 deaths on Wednesday. Because over 1.1 million people 65 and older have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine — and nearly 800,000 have had both — public health officials hope there will be far fewer deaths. Older residents are making up a far smaller fraction of current cases than during past spikes.

— Mike Wilkinson

Related: Michigan schools reopened. Then came a spike in COVID outbreaks


Wednesday, March 23

Patient surge worries Michigan hospital industry

A sudden jump in COVID-19 patients has hit Michigan’s hospitals, with those in northern Michigan and metro Detroit seeing a 40 percent to 50 percent increase in patients in less than a week.

The number of patients treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 jumped from 400 last Friday to 568 on Wednesday in the region that includes Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties. In the same time period in the northwestern lower peninsula, COVID-19 patients have increased from 46 to 65, a 41 percent jump.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association called the jump “alarming” Wednesday, pointing out that many of the patients are adults who have not been vaccinated, particularly those in their 30s and 40s.

The good news is that fewer of the patients are 60 or older, for which COVID-19 has been most lethal. Over 80 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Michigan have been among those 60 and older.

But as cases have risen, many of the latest victims are younger ages, including school-age children who may, in turn, be infecting their parents and others in their households. The state is currently seeing a sharp increase in outbreaks at K-12 schools.

Until next week, only those 50 and older or those with underlying health conditions are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine in Michigan. 

The eligibility will be opened to everyone 16 and older beginning on April 5.

“Michigan is making progress at ultimately defeating the COVID-19 pandemic through increasing vaccination rates, but the war is not yet over,” said MHA Chief Medical Officer Gary Roth. He urged state residents to wear masks, wash their hands, avoid crowds and get the vaccine.

According to the MHA, hospitalizations increased by 633 percent for adults ages 30-39 and by 800 percent for adults ages 40-49 between March 1 to March 23. They also found that hospitalization growth rates decline as the vaccination rates per age group increases.

Hospitalizations for those 80 or older grew 37 percent; 44 percent of that age group has been fully vaccinated.

Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, March 23

3,579 new cases on Tuesday, positivity rate hits 12%

Michigan reported 3,579 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing the seven-day daily average to 2,938 as 12 percent of tests came back positive.

Michigan is amid a steep increase in weekly cases, which have tripled in a month.  The state has the fourth-highest rate of new confirmed or probable cases per 100,000 in the country.

On Tuesday, the state reported that 12 percent of tests came back positive, up from 10 percent the day before. The state now has the fourth-highest positive rate in the nation.

Michigan also reported 16 additional COVID-19 deaths, eight of which followed a review of medical records. All of the deaths occurred in March.

The state also reported 1,687 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, an increase of 107 in one day. Mike Wilkinson


Monday, March 22

Michigan hospitalizations jump 20 percent

A month-long surge in new cases has pushed Michigan coronavirus hospitalizations up more than 20 percent since Friday, with hospitals treating 270 additional COVID-19 patients as of Monday.

Hospitalizations are up most in metro Detroit and in northern and western areas of the lower peninsula.

There are now 1,580 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, up from 1,310 on Friday. It’s the biggest gain since Nov. 9 when the state saw 390 new patients.

Despite weeks of rising cases, Michigan had seen hospitalizations grow more slowly in the past month than they had during the second wave that ran from October through mid-January and the hope was that the vaccination of over 2.2 million state residents would help limit instances of serious illness. 

The state reported 4,801 new cases on Monday covering a two-day period, for an average of 2,400 per day. The seven-day average now stands at 2,719 new daily cases. The state reported six new deaths Monday.

Since the pandemic began there have been 629,612 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 15,093 confirmed deaths.

Over the weekend, 8.8 percent of tests came back positive and 7.7 percent over the past week, up from 5.8 percent the previous week. Higher test positivity rates indicate greater community spread of the virus.  

Mike Wilkinson

Related: As COVID spread, far fewer Michigan high school grads enrolled in college


Saturday, March 20

Michigan reports 47 COVID-19 deaths, 2,660 new cases

A greater portion of coronavirus tests are coming back positive across Michigan, with 8.5 percent of all tests reported Saturday confirming a new infection.

That pushes the rate over the past week to 7.3 percent. It was 5.2 percent a week earlier.

Those higher rates produced 2,660 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing the seven-day average to 2,482 daily cases. Michigan now has the fourth-highest rate of new infections in the country.

The state also reported 47 deaths, including 39 that came after a review of medical records. Of the deaths, 39 were in March, three in February, and the rest in earlier months.

Counties in Michigan’s Thumb region — St. Clair, Sanilac and Huron — continue to have the highest growth in overall case rates. Huron County is now averaging 71 new daily cases for every 100,000 people, up from 39 the week before. Sanilac is at 66 daily cases per 100,000 (up from 29) and St. Clair is at 57, up from 31 daily cases per 100,000.

Wexford County, in the northwestern Lower Peninsula, has the highest rate at 75 cases per 100,000.

Just over a month ago, on Feb. 18, no county had a positive test rate over 10 percent and statewide just under 3 percent were coming back positive. 

On Saturday, the state’s testing data shows that 21 counties have a positive rate exceeding 10 percent, including populous counties Macomb, suburban Wayne and Genesee. — Mike Wilkinson

Related: Whitmer: COVID tests for student athletes, but more fans for Detroit Tigers


Friday, March 19

Cases rise over 3,700

Coronavirus cases are quickly growing in Michigan, as the state reported 3,730 new cases on Friday, with more than 500 of those apiece coming from Oakland, Macomb and suburban Wayne counties.

The new cases put the state’s seven-day average at 2,339 cases per day. Michigan is now tied (with Delaware) for the third-highest rate per 100,000 people in the country. Only New Jersey and Rhode Island have higher rates.

The jump comes on the same day Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced expanded capacity at Comerica Park for Detroit Tigers’ baseball while adding new testing requirements on high school athletes.

Some of the higher rates of new infections are among those 10 to 19 years old, and state officials said there are many outbreaks tied to youth sports. In the past day, those 10 to 19 comprised 19 percent of all cases; overall that age group has made up just 10 percent of cases.

New testing data shows that 7.3 percent of more than 44,500 tests came back positive and over the past week 6.8 percent have been positive. It was 5 percent the week before.

The biggest increases are in the Thumb, from St. Clair County to Huron County, and in the northern Lower Peninsula, including Missaukee, Wexford, Otsego and Roscommon counties.

The state also reported 15 new COVID-19 deaths on Friday.

Hospitalizations rose again to 1,310 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, up from 1,237. The 73-patient increase is the largest since rates started rising in mid-February. — Mike Wilkinson

 

Thursday, March 18

Cases jump to 2,629

Michigan’s recent increase in coronavirus infections continued Thursday, with the state reporting 2,629 new confirmed cases. That raised the seven-day average to 2,149, the highest since Jan. 17, when it was 2,229.

The state also reported 25 new COVID-19 deaths, including 24 that came following a review of medical records. Of the 25 deaths, one was last July, while one was in January, another in February and the rest in March.

The number of patients hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 rose to 1,237, up by 60 from Wednesday.

Testing data showed that 6.2 percent of more than 49,500 tests came back positive. Over the past week, an average of 6.4 percent of tests have been positive, up from 4.8 percent the week before.

Fifteen counties now have a positive rate over 10 percent over the past week, including Missaukee County in the northern Lower Peninsula with the highest rate at 25.2 percent. Macomb County, the third most populous county, has a positive rate of 11.5 percent over the past week. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, March 17

New cases top 3,000 for first time since January

New coronavirus infections are rising rapidly in Michigan, with the state reporting 3,164 confirmed cases Wednesday but no additional deaths.

It is the first day with more than 3,000 cases since Jan. 19, when there were 3,625.

While cases have increased markedly in the past three weeks, a smaller portion of cases involve those who are 60 years old or older and considered the most vulnerable to the virus.

That could be because of a surge in vaccinations, with half of the state’s 2 million-plus vaccines going to those 65 and older.

In the past 10 days, residents 60 and older have comprised just 13.8 percent of all coronavirus cases in Michigan. Before the vaccination program started in earnest in early January, those age groups made up over 23 percent of cases, almost equal to their representation in the overall population.

That age group was targeted for early vaccinations because those over 60 comprise over 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

Cases are rising quickly in many parts of the state, including Macomb County in metro Detroit, where over 10 percent of the past week’s tests have come back positive and the daily case rate per 100,000 residents has gone from 17 to 29 new daily cases.

The biggest increases are coming in St. Clair County (doubling to 45 cases per 100,000 from last week), Oakland County (20 per 100,000 from 12), Monroe County (27 per 100,000 from 19) and parts of northern Michigan.

Only three states — New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware — have higher rates of new confirmed or probable coronavirus cases over the past week, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of data compiled daily by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, Michigan is averaging 24 new daily cases of confirmed or suspected coronavirus per 100,000 people (it’s 21 confirmed cases per 100,000). 

On March 1, the state ranked 43rd with 11 confirmed or probable cases per 100,000.

Of more than 36,100 tests reported Wednesday, 6.3 percent were positive. Over the past week, over 6 percent of all tests were positive, up from 4.5 percent of the tests the preceding week. — Mike Wilkinson

Related: No doubt: Third surge of COVID has hit Michigan. Can we vaccinate fast enough?


Tuesday, March 16

2,048 cases and 27 deaths 

Michigan reported 2,048 new coronavirus cases and 27 deaths Tuesday as the daily positive test rate approached 9 percent for the first time since early January.

The cases bring the seven-day average to 1,951, up from 1,795 on Tuesday. It was 1,250 a week ago, an increase of 56 percent.

Michigan now has the nation’s seventh highest rate of new daily cases per 100,000, with 22 confirmed or suspected new daily cases per 100,000. Just 10 days ago, the state had the 43rd highest rate.

The percent of coronavirus tests coming back positive has risen sharply in the past week, to 8.6 percent of the 20,900 tests reported Tuesday coming back positive. That’s up from 5.6 percent just eight days ago.

The rate had hovered about 3.4-3.6 percent from mid-February until early March when it began rising. Hospitalizations rose again too, up 30 from Monday to 1,124 COVID-19 patients.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 612,628 confirmed cases and 15,810 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

The state also reported that nearly 2 million people have gotten a vaccine dose. As of Tuesday, the state said over 1.98 million “first” doses have been administered and, of those, 1.1 million have gotten both.

Nearly 19,000 of those have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. — Mike Wilkinson

Related: Michigan ranks second in COVID variant cases as state hits ‘tipping point’


Monday, March 15

3,143 cases over two-day span

Michigan reported 3,143 new confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, covering the previous two days for an average of 1,571 daily cases.

That pushes the seven-day average to 1,795, up from 1,626 on Saturday and 1,250 a week earlier, a 44 percent jump in seven days.

More than 6.8 percent of the reported tests from the weekend were positive, pushing the seven-day rate to 5.5 percent. Cases and positive tests have risen for over three weeks.

Hospitalizations jumped 96 since Friday, with 1,094 patients now being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. It’s the first time since Feb. 12 the number has exceeded 1,000.

The state also reported nine new deaths over the two days. — Mike Wilkinson

Related: One year into pandemic, these numbers frame Michigan’s uneven recovery


Saturday, March 13

Michigan reports 1,659 cases

Michigan reported 1,659 new confirmed coronavirus infections Saturday, pushing the seven-day average up again, this time to 1,626 cases, a rate not seen since late Jan. 29 —  when it was 1,631 a day and case counts were still falling.

The state also reported that of nearly 36,600 coronavirus tests, 5.4 percent came back positive, pushing the seven-day rate to 5 percent. It was 4 percent a week ago and 3.4 percent two weeks ago.

A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus and the state has hoped to keep the rate at 3 percent or lower.

The state also reported 38 new COVID-19 deaths, including 30 that came after a review of medical records. Of those, one occurred in November, six in January, nine in February and 22 in March.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, there have been 607,437 confirmed cases and 15,774 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. — Mike Wilkinson

Related: Gretchen Whitmer opening MI COVID vaccines brings excitement and wariness


Friday, March 12

Michigan COVID cases surge, more than 2,400 Friday

Michigan is experiencing a sustained increase in new coronavirus infections, with the 2,403 confirmed cases reported Friday driving a 32-percent increase in just one week.

The cases have pushed infection rates up in many counties, but especially in metro Detroit, where suburban Wayne County reported 368 cases Friday, the most in the state. That’s pushed that county’s rate up from 15 daily cases per 100,000 people to 21 cases per 100,000 in just a week, a 40 percent increase. 

Macomb County (which went from 15 to 20 cases per 100,000) and Oakland County (10 to 14 per 100,000) saw similar increases.

St. Clair County more than doubled: from 13 daily cases per 100,000 to 28.

The state hasn’t seen a daily case count this high since Jan. 15, when 2,598 cases were reported.

But the case surge has not yet produced a corresponding rise in deaths or hospitalizations, which may be linked to the more than one million Michigan residents who have now had at least one dose of a vaccine. 

Michigan reported seven new COVID-19 deaths Friday. 

Since the pandemic began there have been 15,737 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 605,778 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The increases in cases, continuing for three weeks, have only spurred a modest increase in hospitalizations —  up by 11 patients to 998 hospitalized for COVID around the state Friday. 

Meanwhile, of the more than 47,000 coronavirus tests reported Friday, 5.3 percent came back positive, another ominous sign after weeks of seeing that rate below 4 percent. The seven-day rate is 4.8 percent; it was 3 percent just two weeks ago.

A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus and the state has hoped to keep the rate at 3 percent or lower.

Despite the increase in new cases, the Michigan Department of Corrections will allow face-to-face visitations with prisoners after more than a year of banning them because of the pandemic.

Nearly 24,500 prisoners or staff in the state prison system have contracted COVID-19 and there have been 146 reported deaths, according to the latest figures.

— Mike Wilkinson


Michigan residents 16 and older eligible for COVID vaccine by April 5

All Michiganders 16 and older, regardless of health status, will be eligible for a COVID vaccine beginning April 5, the state announced Friday.

It’s possible for the agency to do this now because of the expectation for more vaccines to flood into Michigan, said Kerry Ott, spokesperson for the department that covers Luce, Mackinac, Algiers and Schoolcraft counties.

For people 16 and older with a disability or medical condition that place them at higher risk from COVID-19, eligibility will begin March 22, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday. The state had previously said only residents 50 or older, regardless of health issues, were eligible beginning March 22.  DETAILS >>


Thursday, March 11

More than 1M vaccinated in Michigan; cases rising fast

Michigan reported that just over 1 million residents have now been fully vaccinated — either getting both doses of the vaccines that require two or one of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The state has now fully vaccinated nearly 18 percent of the 5.7 million people 16 and over that it wants to vaccinate to achieve herd immunity. 

All told, 1.8 million have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccines and 1,010,866 of those have gotten both doses. 

Related: Michigan residents 16 and older eligible for COVID vaccine by April 5

Both the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna require two doses.

Around the state, the percentage coverage varies greatly. In Schoolcraft, Ontonagon, Grand Traverse, Mackinac and Iron counties — all in northern Michigan or the Upper Peninsula — over 20 percent of those 16 and older have gotten both doses. Detroit and Cass County, meanwhile, have only vaccinated about 5 percent of their 16 and older populations.

According to CDC data, Michigan 32nd nationally in the rate of administering first doses and 25th in administering both doses. — Mike Wilkinson


Michigan cases rising fastest in Midwest

Michigan reported 2,091 news coronavirus cases Thursday, pushing the state to the 17th highest rate in the nation, with 17 confirmed or probable cases per 100,000 people.

Michigan now has the highest rate in the Great Lakes region, and its increase has been quick: It had the 43rd highest rate less than a week ago, on March 5, when there were 11 cases per 100,000 in Michigan.

The increase comes as normal activities resume, with data compiled by the state Monday showing a sustained increase in mobility since about the beginning of February.

Those cases have also triggered an increase in hospitalizations, with 987 people being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Thursday, up from 942 on Wednesday and 890 a week ago.

The news comes as vaccine manufacturers told Michigan officials they will deliver 20,000 more doses next week than this week, with the state expecting a total of 443,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Manufacturers have increased supplies for three consecutive weeks, and more than 1 in 6 residents — 18.4 percent — have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Testing data showed that of 45,400 tests reported Thursday, 4.4 percent came back positive.  A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus and the state was averaging below 4 percent for nearly a month until late last week. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, March 10

Michigan passes 600,000 cases

One year after Michigan’s first confirmed coronavirus case, the state passed the 600,000 case threshold with 2,316 new confirmed infections, the highest single-day count since Jan. 15.

The new cases pushed the seven-day average to 1,362, the highest since it was 1,370 on Feb. 4. There have now been 601,284 confirmed cases. With seven new COVID-19 deaths, the state has reported 15,707 over the course of the past year.

The first confirmed coronavirus infection was documented on March 10, 2020, though thousands of undetected cases were likely rampant in Michigan at the time, when there was limited testing ability.

Cases have risen in Michigan for the past three weeks and Wednesday’s numbers continue that climb, likely spurred by more mobility and the loosening of restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

A month ago, only two states had lower rates of new infections than Michigan. As of Tuesday, Michigan now ranks 26th highest case rate, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 36,200 tests reported Wednesday, 4.7 percent came back positive. The seven-day rate rose to 4.3 percent, the highest since Feb. 4. A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus.

On Feb. 10, Michigan had the 39th highest positive test rate. It now stands at 27th as other states see rates fall and Michigan’s has risen. — Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, March 9

Michigan positive rate hits 6 percent

For the first time in more than five weeks Michigan saw the percent of positive coronavirus tests hit 6 percent on Tuesday, pushing the seven-day average to 4.2 percent.

Since the end of the second wave of the virus in mid-January, the positive test rate — considered an indicator of how fast the virus is spreading —  had fallen and stabilized around 3.5 percent.

But in the past 10 days  it has started to rise, hitting 6 percent of the 17,500 people tested for COVID-19 reported Tuesday. The seven-day average had remained below 4 percent for 26 consecutive days till hitting 4.1 percent on Saturday.

The positive test rate has climbed as cases have risen. State health officials said the two were expected to rise once some restrictions were lifted on Michigan businesses in February. The state lifted further restrictions late last week.

Michigan also reported 29 newly confirmed deaths tied to COVID-19 Tuesday, including 21 involving past deaths after a review of medical records. Of the 29 total deaths, one occurred in August, 4 in February and the rest in March.

Hospitalizations in the state have also risen: 954 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 now being treated in hospitals across Michigan, up from 935 on Monday and from 821 on Feb. 21.

— Mike Wilkinson

 


Monday, March 8

1,960 new cases and four deaths over the weekend 

Michigan reported 1,960 confirmed cases of coronavirus and four deaths for Sunday and Monday, a daily average of 980.

The seven-day average of daily cases rose to 1,266, up from 1,107 a week ago.

Testing results show that about 4.8 percent 39,600 rests reported the past two days came back positive, pushing the seven-day rate to 4.2 percent. A week ago the seven-day positive rate was 3.5 percent.

A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. — Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, March 6

1,289 new cases reported Saturday

Michigan reported 1,289 confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 596,054.

The new daily average over the past week is 1,210 cases, up from 1,191. It has risen on 12 of the last 14 days and is now 45 percent higher than it was two weeks ago when the daily average was 832 cases.

The state also reported 56 COVID-19 deaths, including 48 that followed a review of medical records. There are now 15,666 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. — Mike Wilkinson


Friday, March 5

1,486 cases and 10 deaths

Michigan reported 1,486 coronavirus infections and 10 deaths Friday, raising the seven-day daily average to 1,191 from 1,131.

The case increases are most pronounced in metro Detroit, where the rate of new daily cases per 100,000 residents rose to 15 from 10 in the past week in Macomb and suburban Wayne counties and to 10 from eight in Oakland County.

Deaths have decreased dramatically since December, when 3,326 people died. They’ve fallen to 1,825 in January, 707 in February and 34 so far in March. Throughout the pandemic, Michigan has had 594,765 confirmed infections and 15,610 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Of more than 44,600 tests reported Friday, 4 percent came back positive, with 3.9 percent of the past week’s tests coming back positive. It was 3.4 percent for the preceding week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has set the state's target goal at 3 percent or lower. A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. 

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 fell Friday to 866, down from 890. — Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, March 4

Coronavirus cases up to 1,536

Coronavirus cases are slightly increasing statewide, with 1,536 confirmed cases and 37 deaths reported Thursday.

The biggest increases are in southeast Michigan, where cases in the past week increased 34 percent in Macomb County, 39 percent in Oakland County and 57 percent in suburban Wayne County. Statewide, average daily cases increased 10 percent, from 1,022 last week to 1,132 on Thursday.

However, the overall rates in each county are still below 13 new daily cases per 100,000, well below December’s statewide rate of 72 new daily cases per 100,000. That month, some counties averaged more than 100 cases per 100,000.

Thursday’s death toll includes 29 from a review of medical records.

Of nearly 46,200 tests reported Thursday, 3.5 percent came back positive and the rate over the past seven days was 3.7 percent, the highest since Feb. 11 when the weekly rate was 3.8 percent. — Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, March 4

Coronavirus cases are on the increase

Michigan recorded 1,536 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the most since 1,774 were reported Jan. 29, according to the state department of health and human services. 

The totals push the seven-day average to 1,113 daily cases. Just two weeks ago, the seven-day average was 847. 

The state also reported five new COVID-19 deaths Wednesday.

Since the pandemic began, Michigan has reported 591,753 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 15,558 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Case counts in Michigan have risen for over a week, coming after more than two months of declines. But the daily case rates, though climbing, are still a small fraction of where they were when Michigan was hit by the second wave of cases in November and December.

The state is now averaging 11 new daily cases per 100,000, up from 8 just 10 days ago. But in early December, there were as many as 72 daily cases per 100,000 people.

Suburban Wayne County, with new 158 cases, led the state Wednesday, followed by Oakland (125 cases) and Macomb (91 cases). Much of the lower peninsula is seeing cases rise while there were only 11 cases across the 15 counties of the Upper Peninsula

Testing data release Wednesday showed 4 percent of more than 35,700 COVID tests came back positive, and 3.6 percent over the past seven days.

Hospitalizations were down, with 882 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 being treated as of Wednesday, down from 959 on Tuesday.

— Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, March 2

Notable jump in COVID-19 hospitalizations Tuesday 

After more than two months of steady declines, Michigan’s hospitals are seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients, nearing 1,000 patients statewide. It’s one in a handful of alarming trends in recent days, and comes as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced some relaxation of COVID protocols.  

On Tuesday, the state reported 959 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients being treated, that’s a rise of 66 patients from Monday. It is the largest increase since Nov. 30 when the state hospitals added 229 patients.

Most of the increase is occurring in hospitals in the six counties of metro Detroit, state data shows.

The increase in hospitalizations is another sign that a steady decline in statewide COVID infections has stalled, with a recent uptick in new infections. 

The state reported 1,067 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday and 24 deaths.

The state also reported 5 percent of the coronavirus tests recorded Monday came back positive, the highest level in three weeks.

Despite the latest numbers, Michigan remains well below levels from late last year. In early December, more than 4,300 COVID-19 patients were being treated, the state was averaging nearly 7,000 cases a day, an average of 100 people were dying of COVID-19 every day and the positive test rate was between 12 and 16 percent.

In December alone, 3,325 people were confirmed to have died of COVID-19, making it the second deadliest month of the pandemic after April 2020.

Since the pandemic began, the state has seen 590,217 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 15,558 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

— Mike Wilkinson

Monday, March 2 

Cases down 95 percent at nursing homes; 12 deaths statewide over 2 days

Coronavirus cases continued to decline dramatically this week at Michigan’s nursing homes and other senior care facilities, which were among the first to receive vaccines, according to the latest data.

Over the past week there were 44 new coronavirus cases, down from 73 a week before and from 827 the week ending Dec. 28, a decline that is far steeper than the state’s overall drop in cases.

The weekly number of cases in long-term care facilities has fallen 95 percent since Dec. 28, compared to statewide which is down 54 percent.

More than 238,000 vaccine doses have been administered in nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care and other senior living facilities, to both residents and staff.

Officials have said a greater percentage of staff declined the vaccine than residents but staff have also seen a sharp decline in weekly cases too. There were 99 staff cases last week, down from 125 the week before. Since Dec. 28, when there were 727 cases,  they’ve fallen 87 percent.

Experts told Bridge Michigan the steep decline in nursing home cases is a result of the vaccine campaign. Nursing home residents and those in homes for the aged and adult foster care facilities have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, accounting for more than 5,500 — 37 percent — of the more than 15,500 COVID-19 deaths in Michigan. — Mike Wilkinson


Monday, March 2

Weekend cases average 784 per day

Michigan public health officials on Monday reported an average of 784 new coronavirus cases for Sunday and Monday and 12 total COVID-19 deaths.

The state's seven-day average is now 1,107 cases a day, up from 1,101 a day on Saturday.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 587,581 confirmed cases and 15,522 deaths in Michigan.

Hospitalizations rose over the weekend, to 893 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, up from 841 on Friday. It is the first time the number of patients rose over a weekend since Nov. 30. The number of COVID-19 patients had fallen steadily from Dec. 1, when it peaked at 4.326 and hit a low of 821 Thursday.

Test results from over 47,000 tests showed 4 percent were positive over the previous two days. The seven-day rate remained at 3.4 percent. — Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, Feb. 27

1,156 cases, 68 deaths

Michigan public health officials reported 1,156 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Saturday and 68 deaths.

The cases total pushed the seven-day daily average to 1,095, up from 1,020.

The deaths include six recent ones and 62 that were determined after a review of medical records of earlier deaths. Fifth-three of the 68 total deaths occurred in February, 12 in January, three in November, and one each in October and December.

Since the pandemic began, Michigan has reported 587,581 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 15,522 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. There are another 57,969 probable coronavirus cases and 986 probable COVID-19 deaths.

Of nearly 36,000 coronavirus tests reported Saturday, 3.4 percent were positive. The rate for the past week has been 3.5 percent, just above the state’s target goal of 3 percent or lower. A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. 

The state does not report hospitalization or vaccine data on weekends. Mike Wilkinson


Michigan poised for big surge in vaccine doses 

The two manufacturers of the coronavirus vaccines have told Michigan they intend to ship more than 400,000 doses combined to the state next week, the most in any week since the vaccines first became available in mid-December.

Pfizer-BioNTech will ship nearly 213,000 doses and Moderna will ship 190,000, according to Lynn Sutfin, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The combined total is well above the 326,000 shipped in the first week of February.

The two manufacturers, along with a third, Johnson & Johnson, which is awaiting U.S. approval for its vaccine, told Congress this week that they expect to collectively ship 140 million doses across the United States by the end of March. Michigan, which typically receives 3 percent of the shipments, would stand to get 4 million new doses by the end of March, dwarfing the 2.6 million doses it’s received over the previous 11 weeks.

The most the state has administered in a given week was 321,000 two weeks ago, an average of nearly 46,000 doses a day.

But, Sutfin said the state has the capacity to administer 80,000 doses a day and local health officials have told Bridge Michigan the only thing limiting them is the supply.

As of Friday, 1.35 million Michigan residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccines — the current vaccines each require two doses — and 774,000 of those have gotten both. The state is currently focusing on people ages 65 and older, and essential workers including teachers.

— Mike Wilkinson


Cases creeping back up, but positive rates still low

Michigan reported 1,073 new coronavirus cases on Friday, as daily average cases are rising in all but one region of the state.

The increase in cases the past week has pushed the seven-day daily case average past 1,000, to 1,020 from 816 one week ago. But some regions are rising faster than others.

In the northern Lower Peninsula region covering most of the north, from Presque Isle County to Lake Michigan, the daily case rate jumped 77 percent in the past week, from 6 cases per 100,000 residents to nearly 11 per 100,000 residents.

Other increases included:

  • 57 percent (6.9 cases per 100,000 to 10.8) in the region that stretches from Genesee County, the Thumb and the Lake Huron shore counties.
  • 26 percent (9.2 to 11.6 cases per 100,000) for south central Michigan, from the Ohio border to north of Lansing.
  • 21 percent (9.2 to 11.2 cases per 100,00) for southwest Michigan
  • 22 percent (7.7 to 9.4 cases per 100,000) in metro Detroit.

Cases decreased in the 13 counties of west Michigan, from 9.8 to 9.3 per 100,000.

The state also reported one new COVID-19 death.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 585,425 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 15,454 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

In testing, of the 41,300 tests reported Friday, 3 percent came back positive.

For the first time since early December, the number of patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 did not decline from Monday through Friday. The 841 patients reported Friday was the same as on Monday and an increase of 20 from Thursday.— Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, Feb. 25

Average daily coronavirus cases in Michigan jump back over 1,000

For the first time in two weeks, the daily average number of coronavirus cases climbed back over 1,000 to 1,037, as Michigan on Thursday announced 1,388 new confirmed cases.

The number of cases marks the third consecutive day of more than 1,200 cases after they were below 1,000 for 13 of the previous 16 days.

Despite the increase in cases, there are other positive data points, with the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continuing to fall, as has the percent of positive coronavirus tests.

There are now 821 patients being treated for suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the fewest since there were 800 on Oct. 5. And 2.9 percent of 48,700 tests reported Thursday came back positive, below the desired threshold sought by state officials.

A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal is to keep the statewide rate at or below 3 percent.

The state also reported 48 new COVID-19 deaths, 30 of which came after a review of medical records. One of the deaths occurred in December, another in January and the rest were in February.

In terms of cases, suburban Wayne County, with 168 new cases, had the most, followed by Macomb (145) and Oakland (121) counties. Each has seen a slight increase in the average number of daily cases.

The daily rate of cases per 100,000 has risen in 49 of the 83 counties and Detroit, though overall still well below the rate seen during the second wave of coronavirus cases seen in November and December. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, Feb. 25

Whitmer hints she may loosen nursing home restrictions

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday she may soon loosen restrictions on nursing home visitation that have been in place since COVID arrived in Michigan nearly a year ago.

Michigan now is in “a much stronger position” in its fight against the virus, Whitmer said during a news conference in which she covered several topics. Whitmer didn’t specify what factors put the state in that position. But Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, noted at the same press event that new coronavirus cases had fallen in the state for six weeks, and tests positivity rates and hospitalizations had declined as well. (Though the number of new cases has risen the past two days.) 

“We're hopeful that we'll be able to announce additional aspects of reengagement” in visitation policies “hopefully as soon as next week,” Whitmer said. The governor offered no details on how the rules might change or a timeline.

She also called on Republicans to release federal funds that could, among other things, cover costs for more rapid antigen tests. Those tests can be given to family members of those in long-term care facilities before they’re allowed entrance.

Earlier in the day, industry leaders and family members of long-term care residents once again called for broader access to facilities.

“When this began, we had very little with which to fight the virus. We knew it was deadly for seniors … that (they) had all the wrong checks in their check boxes in terms of comorbidities and medical complications,” said David Gehm of Wellspring Lutheran Services, which operates long-term care facilities throughout the state.

He was speaking to the House Health Policy Committee.

“But things have changed,” Gehm said. “We've seen changes in case counts, we've seen changes in mortality, we’ve seen additions to our arsenal.”

-- by Robin Erb 


Over 300 B.1.1.7. variant cases in Michigan 

Michigan public health officials have now identified 314 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant of the coronavirus, the variant considered more transmissible than others.

The cases, first discovered in Washtenaw County, have now been identified across 19 counties in the state, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive, said at a Wednesday news conference.

National experts predict the variant, which spreads more quickly than the new coronavirus first detected in Michigan last March, could be the more dominant coronavirus by the end of this March, she said.

The state also reported 1,245 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, pushing the seven-day average to 966, up from 925. The number of daily cases had been falling since mid-January but that decline has plateaued.

They also reported nine additional COVID-19-related deaths.

Of the 37,700 coronavirus tests reported Wednesday, 3.3 percent were positive. It had been above 4 percent the previous two days.A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal is to keep the statewide rate at or below 3 percent.

Michigan currently has the 34th highest positive test rate and the 43rd highest rate of new daily cases, putting the state among the best in terms of controlling the spread of the coronavirus, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of national coronavirus data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

— Mike Wilkinson and Robin Erb

 


Tuesday, Feb. 23

Cases jump to 1,358 after steady declines

Michigan reported 1,358 new confirmed coronavirus cases Tuesday, the most since Feb. 4.

The number of daily cases had been steadily falling, with the total being below 1,000 on 13 of the last 16 days. The cases Tuesday pushed the seven-day daily average up to 925 from 848.

The state also reported 34 COVID-19 deaths, 18 of which came after a review of medical records. All of the reported deaths, however, have occurred in February.

For the second day in a row, the percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive exceeded 4 percent (4.1 percent). The percentage had been below 4 percent the 12 previous days.

COVID-19 hospitalizations rose for the first time since Jan. 20, up to 891 patients from 841 on Monday. — Mike Wilkinson


Monday, Feb. 22

Cases fall to average of 742 on Sunday and Monday

The state reported an average of 742 new coronavirus cases for Sunday and Monday, and just three COVID-19 deaths on Monday.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 581,403 confirmed coronavirus cases and 15,362 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Hospitalizations fell slightly over the weekend, with 841 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, down from 860 on Friday.

Testing data showed a slight increase in the percent positive, with 4.1 percent of nearly 46,900 tests over two days coming back positive. The state’s seven-day rate had fallen to 3.4 percent. A lower positive rate gives public health officials a better ability to identify outbreaks. — Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, Feb. 20 

Michigan reports 635 new cases,  63 deaths

Michigan public health officials reported 635 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing the seven-day average to 816, the lowest since Sept. 28 when it was 761.

The state also reported 63 COVID-19 deaths, 57 of which came after a review of medical records. One of the deaths was in December, 10 were in January and the rest were in February.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Michigan has reported 579,919 confirmed coronavirus cases and 15,359 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. There are another 56,350 probable coronavirus cases and 983 probable COVID-19 deaths.

Out of the nearly 38,000 coronavirus tests reported Saturday, 3.1 percent came back positive. For the past week, it’s been 3.3 percent. A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal is to keep the statewide rate at or below 3 percent.

The latest vaccine data shows that nearly 1.2 million people in Michigan have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and of those, nearly 600,000 have gotten both.

Michigan is currently ranked 31st in the rate of distributing at least one dose but 12th in rate of administering both doses.

Hospitalization data is not released on Saturdays. — Mike Wilkinson


Friday, Feb. 19

1,193 new cases reported Friday

The steady decline in coronavirus infections has slowed amid other positive signs in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan public health officials reported 1,193 new confirmed cases on Friday, the same as a week ago. The seven-day average remained unchanged at 847 cases per day.

Case counts have fallen by 20 percent to nearly 30 percent or more each week since mid-January; they fell 12 percent this week.

But those smaller declines mask a far bigger drop: Daily cases were 6,500 on Dec. 1, 2,700 on Jan. 1 and 1,400 on Feb. 1. Hospitalizations have also declined, from 4,300 on Dec. 1, 2,700 on Jan. 4  and 1,400 on Feb. 1. 

Friday, 860 patients were hospitalized statewide with the virus.

Since the pandemic began, the state has reported 579,284 confirmed cases and 15,273 confirmed deaths. There have been another 56,162 probable cases and 978 probable COVID-19 deaths.

Testing data shows that 3 percent of 35,500 tests reported Friday came back positive and it’s been 3.4 percent for the past week. A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. The Whitmer administration’s goal is to keep the statewide rate at or below 3 percent. — Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, Feb. 18

Michigan reports 888 cases

Michigan reported 888 new coronavirus infections Thursday and 85 deaths, of which 72 were previous deaths now determined to be linked to COVID-19.

The state has now reported 578,203 confirmed cases and 15,273 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Though most of the newly reported deaths came after a review of medical records, all occurred in February. So far there have been 442 reported COVID-19 deaths in Michigan in February.

In a sign that the deadly virus is under more control, for the first time in at least three months no county has a positive test rate over 10 percent. Of the 32,500 coronavirus tests reported Thursday, 2.9 percent came back as positive. A lower positivity rate indicates more control over community spread of the virus. 

Hospitalization numbers also fell Thursday, with fewer than 900 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the state. That’s the first time that’s happened since Oct. 7. There are now 877 COVID-19 patients. There were just over 1,400 on Feb. 1. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, Feb. 17

11 percent of residents have at least one vaccine dose 

Over 11 percent of all Michigan residents have one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 5.2 percent have both doses, the latest state public health records show.

Despite the strides, however, the state is now 33rd in the rate at which residents are getting the first dose, down from 20th just over a week ago as other states ramp up their vaccinations programs.

Michigan, however, has the 13th highest rate at getting people vaccinated with both doses.

The state also reported that 959 new coronavirus cases were confirmed Wednesday, along with 11 COVID-19 deaths. The state is now averaging 11 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases a day per 100,000 people, the fourth lowest rate in the country, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since the pandemic began, Michigan has reported 577,223 confirmed coronavirus cases and 15,188 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Michigan also reported that 3.8 percent of coronavirus tests recorded Wednesday came back positive.  State health officials have targeted a 3 percent positive rate as the goal in order to consider the coronavirus outbreak under control. — Mike Wilkinson


90 cases of variant recorded at Bellamy Creek prison

Even as Michigan gains ground in battling the coronavirus, a more contagious variant of the virus has gained a foothold. Testing detected 90 cases Tuesday among prisoners and staff at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, in Ionia, east of Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Department of Corrections stepped up testing last week after a prison employee tested positive for the variant. 

In all, 95 samples were tested by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories, and 90 were positive for the variant. Testing positive were 88 prisoners and two employees. More than 100 lab results are pending.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7., has a higher rate of transmission and thus could increase cases, hospitalizations and deaths. In the past week, emerging research in the U.K. suggests the variant also may be more likely to cause severe disease or death than the initial form of COVID-19 that struck Michigan last March. Lab tests confirmed the first variant case in Michigan Jan. 16. A cluster of Washtenaw cases appear to be linked; but some other cases have no known connections to each other, an MDHHS spokesperson told Bridge Michigan last week.

In all, 157 cases of the variant have been detected in the state. Elsewhere, cases were found in Washtenaw County — 39; Wayne — 10; city of Detroit — 3, Clinton — 2; four each in Calhoun and Kalamazoo, and one each in Charlevoix, Eaton, Kent, Macomb, Sanilac, St. Clair, and Van Buren.  — Robin Erb


Tuesday, Feb. 16

Michigan records 775 new COVID cases and 19 deaths

Michigan recorded 775 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, according to state public health officials, with 19 additional COVID-19-linked deaths.

The seven-day average of cases remained below 900, at 897 daily cases.

Since the pandemic began there have been 576,224 confirmed cases of the virus and 15,177 confirmed deaths.

Of nearly 16,600 coronavirus tests reported Tuesday, 3.5 percent came back positive and for the past week the average has been 3.4 percent. State health officials have targeted a 3 percent positive rate as the goal in order to consider the coronavirus outbreak under control.

Only two counties currently have a test-positivity rate over 10 percent: Hillsdale in southern Michigan (11 percent) and Gogebic in the western Upper Peninsula (13.1 percent). A majority of Michigan counties (66) are now under 5 percent positive, including the 10 most populous counties.

The number of people currently hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 fell to 939, down from 957. A week ago it was 1,175 and two weeks ago it was 1,403.

—  Mike Wilkinson

Monday, Feb. 15

COVID cases continue to fall Monday

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,265 new coronavirus cases on Sunday and Monday, a daily average of 632, the lowest number of reported new infections since Sept. 22 (504 cases).

That lowered the seven-day Michigan average to 867 daily cases, the lowest since Sept. 30.

The state also reported eight COVID-19 deaths over the two days.

Since the pandemic began, the state has reported 575,224 confirmed coronavirus cases and 15,158 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. There have been another 54,919 probable coronavirus cases and 972 probable COVID-19 deaths.

The average daily cases rate is 25 percent lower than a week ago and it’s been falling anywhere from 10 to 30 percent each week since mid-January.

For the first time since Oct. 12, the number of patients hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 fell below 1,000 Monday, with 957 patients. There were 941 on Oct. 12.

Over the past two days, 3.5 and 3.2 percent of people tested for the coronavirus came back positive, another good trend. State health officials have targeted a 3 percent positive rate as the goal in order to consider the coronavirus outbreak under control.

— Mike Wilkinson

Saturday, Feb. 13

Less than 900 new COVID cases Saturday, 88 new deaths 

Michigan public health officials reported 852 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday and 88 COVID-19 deaths.

That brings the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 574,224 and deaths to 15,150.

The newly reported cases lowered the state’s seven-day average to 939 daily cases.

The deaths include 84 earlier deaths that are now determined to be COVID-19-related following a review of medical records. 

COVID deaths have fallen sharply in Michigan in the past two months.  

In December the state recorded 3,309 deaths, an average of 107 a day. That daily average fell to 58 in January and, through Friday, the rate is 24 deaths per day so far in February.

The percent of tests coming back positive held steady Saturday at 3.6 percent. Over the past seven days it has been 3.7 percent, with the state approaching its goal of getting it down to 3 percent, a level at which public health workers feel they can better identify and control the spread of infection. Two weeks ago, the seven-day rate was 5 percent.

— Mike Wilkinson

 


Friday, Feb. 12

Michigan has second lowest coronavirus case rate in nation

Michigan reported nearly 1,200 new confirmed coronavirus infections Friday, giving the state the fewest cases in a week — just over 6,700 — since early October and the second lowest rate of new cases in the nation.

In the third week of November, the state recorded nearly 51,000 cases, but case levels have fallen steadily since. Including confirmed and probable cases, Michigan is now averaging 12 daily cases for every 100,000 people.

Only North Dakota, at 7 cases per 100,000, is lower, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national rate is 29 new daily cases per 100,000 people.

Michigan also reported 10 additional COVID-19 deaths Thursday, moving the total since the pandemic began to 15,062.

Over the past seven days, 3.7 percent of all coronavirus tests came back positive. The state has set a goal of getting the test positivity rate down to 3 percent, a level at which public health experts believe the spread of the coronavirus can be controlled with testing, contact tracing and quarantines. The rate was 4.3 percent the previous week.

Hospitalizations fell again as well, with 1,024 patients Thursday being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. That’s a drop of 272 patients in a week. At the beginning of the year there were 2,700 COVID-19 patients in Michigan hospitals.

Mike Wilkinson

 


Thursday, Feb. 11 

Michigan passes 15,000 COVID deaths 

Michigan reported another 75 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the state’s death toll to 15,052, the eighth-most in the nation.

Michigan also reported 1,284 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, lowering the seven-day average to 990 daily cases.

And for the first time since Sept. 25, the percent of positive coronavirus tests coming fell below 3 percent, with 2.8 percent of 47,753 tests reported positive. The state’s goal is 3 percent.

The state also was expected Thursday to vaccinate its 1 millionth resident with at least the first dose. As of Wednesday, 994,000 had gotten one dose and nearly 400,000 have had both doses.

Compared to other states, Michigan ranks 27th in the rate of first doses and 12th in both doses. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, Feb. 11

COVID variant spreads to 10 counties

A coronavirus variant — believed to spread at 1.5 times faster than the virus that already has been linked to nearly 15,000 Michigan deaths — has seeped into 10 counties scattered across the state’s lower peninsula, the city of Detroit, and a Michigan prison.

The first known case of the variant entering the state’s prison system has been found at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia County east of Grand Rapids, prompting now-daily antigen tests of prisoners and staff. Until now, tests were weekly.

Some prisoners and staff at the Duane Waters Health Center in Jackson and Macomb Correctional Facility in Lenox Twp. also will be tested daily because several Bellamy Creek prisoners who tested positive for COVID-19 were transferred to those sites. 

While the variant known as B.1.1.7. is not believed to cause more severe disease, its higher rate of transmission could increase cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Lab tests confirmed the first case in Michigan Jan. 16. While the Washtenaw cases appear to be linked; there are no known connections to the other cases in the state, Lynn Sutfin, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said Wednesday.

In all, 61 cases of the variant have been detected in 10 counties and the city of Detroit. The breakdown: Washtenaw County - 39 cases; Wayne County - 6; Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties - 4 each;  Detroit - 2; and one each in Charlevoix, Eaton, Kent, Macomb, Sanilac and Van Buren counties.

Coronavirus case count under 1,000 for fourth straight day

The number of new coronavirus infections continues to fall, with Michigan reporting 915 confirmed cases on Wednesday, the fourth straight day under 1,000.

The count also put the seven-day average at exactly 1,000 daily cases, a level not seen since early October.

The state also reported 12 additional COVID-19 deaths, putting the total at 14,977 since the pandemic began.

Driving the decline in cases and deaths are fewer positive coronavirus tests, with just 3.3 percent of over 34,300 tests reported Wednesday coming back positive, the lowest level since Oct. 7. State health officials have targeted a 3 percent positive rate as the goal in order to consider the coronavirus outbreak under control. 

Counties across the state are reporting fewer cases with most now at levels not seen since September. For instance, on Nov. 30, Kent County was averaging 526 new cases a day; it’s now averaging 78. In Oakland County, the Nov. 30 average was 758 cases; it’s now 96.

And back in November, all of those counties were seeing positivity rates over 10 percent: 13.3 percent in Oakland, 14.4 percent in suburban Wayne, 14.5 percent in Kent and 18.5 percent in Macomb. As of Wednesday, none is over 5 percent: Macomb is at 4.5 percent, Oakland at 3.5 percent, suburban Wayne at 4.8 percent and Kent at 4.2 percent.

— Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, Feb. 9

New coronavirus cases fall to lowest since early September

Michigan public health officials reported just 563 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest since 544 were reported Sept. 14.

That pushes the seven-day average to just over 1,000 cases and the state’s rate of cases per 100,000 is the third lowest in the nation, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of daily case data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state also reported 60 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, 31 which came after a review of medical records. Of the 60, one occured in December, 10 in January and the rest in February.

Since the pandemic began the state has reported 569,980 confirmed cases and 14,965 deaths.

Out of 17,000 tests, 4.1 percent came back positive. Compared nationally, Michigan has the 39th lowest rate, another positive sign.

Hospitalizations continue to decline with 1,175 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients statewide. The state now ranks 35th nationally with an estimated 123 COVID-19 patients per 100,000, well below neighboring states of Ohio (188 per 100,000) and Indiana (190).

— Mike Wilkinson


For the first time since early October, Michigan public health officials reported fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases on consecutive days, with an average of 884 cases for Sunday and Monday.

The last time it was lower was Oct. 4 and 5, when the two days averaged 704.

The state also reported 11 new COVID-19 deaths for Sunday and Monday.

Over the weekend, out of over 51,600 tests, 4.5 percent came back positive, continuing a trend under 5 percent. State health officials have targeted a 3 percent positive rate as the goal in order to consider the coronavirus outbreak to be under control.

There are now 1,211 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Michigan, nearly 200 fewer than a week ago. On Jan. 8, the virus hospitalized nearly 2,500. — Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, Feb. 6

Virus cases fall close to 1,000

Michigan public health officials reported 1,018 new confirmed infections of the coronavirus virus Saturday, the lowest daily count since 905 were reported Oct. 12.

The decline in cases has pushed the seven-day daily average to 1,201 cases. A month ago, on Jan. 6, the seven-day average was 2,942.

Compared to other states, only Missouri, Oregon and North Dakota have a lower seven-day rate per 100,000 people.

The state on Saturday also reported 15 recent deaths and another 82 that were determined to be caused by COVID-19 after a review of medical records. One of those deaths occurred in November but the others occurred in January and February.

Of more than 36,100 coronavirus tests reported Saturday, 4.1 percent came back positive. State health officials have targeted a 3 percent positive rate as the goal in order to consider the coronavirus outbreak to be under control. 

Thirty-seven states have a higher test positivity rate.

— Mike Wilkinson

Friday, Feb. 5

Coronavirus variant now in three southeast Michigan counties

The coronavirus variant, B.1.1.7. — known for its ability to spread rapidly — has now been detected in 30 southeast Michigan cases across three counties, even as the state races toward its goal of inoculating 70 percent of Michiganders 16 and older. 

The precise level of the vaccines’ effectiveness against the variant is not certain, though the two vaccines approved to date in the U.S. appear to offer protection. The variant is one of several that concern health officials for their ability to spread rapidly — by some estimates at 1.5 times faster than the new coronavirus that first was detected in China in late 2019.

In all, 23 cases of the variant have been detected in Washtenaw County — all linked to the University of Michigan campus; six were found in Wayne County and one in Kalamazoo County, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Washtenaw County is offering drive-thru testing Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Pioneer High School, 601 W. Stadium Blvd, in Ann Arbor. Positive results from this testing will be sequenced for the B117 variant. Pre-registration is available but not required.  — Robin Erb

COVID hospitalizations continue to fall in Michigan

The number of patients treated in Michigan hospitals for COVID-19 fell below 1,300 for the first time since late October, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

There are 1,296 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Friday, less than a third of what it was at its peak of 4,300 amid a surge in the virus in late November and part of a steady decline since then.

Hospitalizations are one of three key metrics the Whitmer administration said it has used to determine whether to lift economic, school and travel restrictions in the state. The others have been new daily cases of coronavirus and the positive test rate.

Those, too, have continued to improve: The state reported 1,379 new cases Friday, putting the seven-day average at 1,250, the lowest average since it was 1,174 on Oct. 14.

And of nearly 47,000 coronavirus tests reported Friday, 3.8 percent were positive. For the past week, 4.3 percent of tests were positive; two weeks ago the seven-day rate was 6.5 percent. Higher positive rates suggest there is more community spread of the virus. 

Just one county, Gogebic, has a rate over 10 percent (10.2 percent). In mid-January, 27 counties were above 10 percent.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 566,630 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 14,797 deaths, including 19 reported Friday. There have been another 52,869 probable cases and 952 probable deaths.

— Mike Wilkinson

 

Thursday, Feb. 4

Positive rate down to 3.4 percent; 1,358 new infections

 

Michigan on Thursday reported 1,358 new coronavirus infections, pushing the seven-day average down, again, to 1,306.

The state reported another 74 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, 48 more recorded in January and 26 in February, following  tens of thousands of infections in November and December led to severe illnesses and death.

But the state also reported Thursday that of nearly 49,600 tests, just 3.4 percent came back positive, the second straight day under 4 percent.

The state has wanted to get to 3 percent, a rate at which health experts believe they can safely identify and control coronavirus outbreaks.

The state also reported that over 842,000 people have gotten the first dose of the vaccine, with nearly 234,000 of those having gotten both doses. The state now ranks 20th nationally in vaccination rate, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, Feb. 3

Positive cases fall under 4 percent

For the first time since early October, fewer than 4 percent of the coronavirus tests reported Wednesday were positive, another sign of the state’s recovery from the deadly second wave.

Of more than 39,700 tests, 3.9 percent were positive, the lowest rate since Oct. 8. Over the past week, 4.5 percent of tests have come back positive, and Michigan has had one of the lowest positive test rates in the country.

State officials have targeted 3 percent as the goal; the lower the rate, the better able public health officials are at identifying and controlling the spread of the virus.

The state also reported 1,383 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 32 deaths.

With the newly reported deaths, 34 were in February and 1,655 in January. The second wave of the coronavirus was more deadly than the first, when just over 5,600 died in March, April and May. From October through January, nearly 7,900 have died of COVID-19 in Michigan. 

The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 fell below 1,400, to 1,376. It hit a high of 4,326 on Nov. 30 and has fallen steadily since. — Mike Wilkinson

 

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Michigan reports 1,203 new cases and 63 new deaths

The state reported 1,203 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, along with 63 COVID-19 deaths.

Of the deaths, one occurred in December, 52 in January and 12 in February and 36 of were determined to be caused by COVID-19 after a review of medical records.

Since the pandemic began, the state has had 562,510 confirmed coronavirus cases and 14,672 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

The seven-day average rate of daily new cases stands at 1,422. Compared to all states, Michigan’s rate of daily new cases — confirmed and probable — is 19 per 100,000 people. Only five states, Colorado, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota and Oregon, have lower rates, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Statewide, 1,403 people are currently hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, down six from Monday.

After a string of days with less than 5 percent of all coronavirus tests coming back positive, 5.7 percent of tests reported Tuesday came back positive and 6.1 percent of tests reported Monday. For the past seven days, however, the overall rate is 4.7 percent.

Only six counties are above 10 percent. All are in northern Michigan or the Upper Peninsula. Detroit and the state’s largest counties — Oakland, Macomb, suburban Wayne and Kent — are all between 4 and 6 percent. — Mike Wilkinson


Monday, Feb. 1

Michigan passes 1 million vaccines

Michigan has now administered more than 1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, the state reported Monday.

Just over 800,000 people have received at least the first dose, while 200,182 have received both doses.

Many of those who have been vaccinated have been health care workers and over 50,000 residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities. Another 54,000 people in other senior care facilities, like assisted living, have received at least one dose of the vaccines.

COVID-19 is blamed for the death of 4,007 nursing home residents and another 1,400 residents of adult foster care and homes for the aged. Combined that’s about 37 percent of all 14,609 COVID-19 deaths in Michigan.

The state also was notified that another 255,000 doses were shipped to the state, bringing the total to 1.73 million to date.

Since a slow rollout, Michigan has seen its rate of vaccinations climb compared to other states. It now ranks 17th in the rate per 100,000 at which it is administering the first dose, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was 45th in early January. — Mike Wilkinson 

Eight deaths reported, as new cases continue to decline

Michigan reported eight COVID-19 deaths over the past two days as the number of patients hospitalized for the disease fell again.

There are now 1,409 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, down nearly 260 from the week before and at levels not seen since mid-October.

That’s the result of a steep decline in new infections, as the state reported 2,033 confirmed cases for Sunday and Monday, or 1,033 each day. The seven-day average fell to 1,461 daily cases and Michigan continues to have one of the lowest rates in the country.

Although 6.1 percent of tests reported Monday were positive, the seven-day average was 4.9 percent. The seven-day rate last hit 4.9 percent on Oct. 20.

Michigan restaurants were able to reopen Monday in part because of the progress the state has seen in combating the coronavirus. Most parts of the state are seeing case rates fall and 40 counties are experiencing positive test rates at 5 percent or lower. — Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, Jan. 30

Michigan reports 1,538 new cases, lowest since mid-October

Michigan reported 1,358 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, the lowest since 1,237 cases were reported  Oct. 13.

New cases have declined for several weeks, though the death toll continues: The state reported 104 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, which include 93 deaths determined after a review of medical records.

Thirteen of the 104 deaths reported Saturday were in December and one was in November. The rest were in January, which has 1,583 deaths so far, the fourth-most after April (3,743), December (3,306) and November (2,272).

Since the pandemic began, Michigan has 14,601 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. There have been 559,241 reported coronavirus cases, just over 5.5 percent of the state’s population.

The state also reported that 4.4 percent of more than 41,400 tests reported Saturday were positive. Over the last week, 5.2 percent were positive, down from 6.2 the previous week.

Experts say lower positive test rates indicate less community spread of the virus. In November, the rate hit a high of 16 percent of all tests as the state approached nearly 10,000 daily cases and hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients.

Almost every part of the state is experiencing declines in new cases as the positive rate comes down.

 But Washtenaw County, where the University of Michigan increased student testing after the discovery of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, has had an increase in cases.

The county’s rate of new daily cases per 100,000 rose to 28, up from 18 the week before. Despite the increase just 3.7 percent of all tests have come back positive. — Mike Wilkinson


Friday, Jan. 29

Cases jump in Washtenaw County

Five University of Michigan off-campus group housing units are experiencing outbreaks of the coronavirus, the university reported Friday, as Washtenaw County is reporting an increase in daily cases.

The university said residents in those units are now in quarantine, a move that comes after the university reported that the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus had been detected in at least 14 students.

The university is conducting hundreds of additional tests of students as they have returned to campus, with testing in Washtenaw County overall jumping nearly 50 percent in the last week.

That’s led to the discovery of hundreds of more cases as the overall positive testing rate for the virus — 4.1 percent this week — is up slightly from 3.1 percent the week before. The new case rate in Washtenaw, 27 daily cases per 100,000, is up from 17 daily cases per 100,000 the week before.

The increase in Washtenaw stands in contrast to almost every other county in Michigan where case rates continue to fall. Statewide, 1,774 new coronavirus infections were reported Friday.

The state also reported six additional COVID-19 deaths, the second time in a week that there are fewer than 10 reported in a day. From late November through Dec. 25, the state averaged nearly 110 deaths a day; it’s averaged 53 COVID-19 deaths since then.

Since the pandemic began last March, there have been 557,883 confirmed cases and 14,497 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

In addition to declining case averages, just 4.2 percent of the more than 52,000 tests reported in Michigan Friday came back positive, the lowest rate since Oct. 10. Experts say lower positive test rates indicate less community spread of the virus.  — Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, Jan. 28

Michigan reports 1,872 cases, 80 deaths, 695,000 total vaccinations

Over 695,000 people have received at least the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of Thursday.

Of those, 158,000 have had both of the required two doses. That places the state 18th in the rate of administering both doses and 21st in first doses, according to the latest state data.

The state also reported another 1,872 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus  and 80 deaths, including 67 that followed a review of medical records. Most of those deaths were in January.

The percent of coronavirus tests reported Thursday that came back positive fell to 4.5 percent, out of 47,800 tests. The last time it was lower was Oct. 10, when it was 4.2 percent.

The number of patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 fell again, to 1,536, half the number that was hospitalized just five weeks ago. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, Jan. 27

Daily deaths fall below 10

For the first time since mid-October, Michigan health officials reported fewer than 10 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday.

There were six new deaths, all from the last week. The state reported four deaths on Oct. 12 but since then the state has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases —  and over 7,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The more recent decline in deaths is an outgrowth of fewer cases, which have been slowly falling for several weeks. On Wednesday, the state reported 1,681 new coronavirus infections, putting the seven-day average at 1,727 daily cases per 100,000 people. Only a few states in the country have a lower rate.

For the third time in a week, the test positivity rate fell below 5 percent, with 4.9 percent of 48,000 tests reported Wednesday coming back positive.

Only seven counties in the state have seven-day averages above 10 percent and 16 counties have rates at 3 percent or lower, including Washtenaw County in metro Detroit.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients also fell again, to 1,594 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, the lowest number since mid-October. — Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, Jan. 26

Michigan vaccination rate improves as cases continue to fall

Michigan is vaccinating state residents at a far faster rate than previously, with more than 600,000 residents having received at least one dose.

That places the state 21st in the rate of first-dose vaccinations per 100,000 residents, a marked improvement from 45th in the first weeks of the vaccination program. The state ranks 20th for those who have gotten both required doses of the vaccine.

The good vaccine news comes as new coronavirus infections continue to decline, with 1,476 cases reported Tuesday. That puts the seven-day daily average at 1,777, the lowest rate since mid-October.

But the state reported another 79 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, all from January except one from December. Since the pandemic began, 14,405 have died of confirmed COVID-19.

Testing data showed 7.1 percent of more than 26,000 tests reported Tuesday came back positive. Over the past week, the average has been 6.2 percent and Michigan has the 40th lowest rate in the country as of Sunday data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitalizations fell again as well, with 1,638 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 currently being treated in hospitals across the state. At the beginning of the year, there were 2,700 being treated statewide. — Mike Wilkinson


Monday, Jan. 25

Michigan’s continued trend of falling coronavirus cases and deaths continued Monday with the state reporting 3,011 new cases and 35 deaths since Saturday.

That averages to a little more than 1,500 cases and 17 deaths for the previous two days.

Case counts, as well as hospitalizations and positive tests, continue to fall in much of Michigan. The state reported just under 1,700 COVID-19 hospital patients, the fewest since Oct. 29.

And the state reported 5.9 percent of coronavirus tests returned positive, with the state averaging 6.2 percent over the past week.

Compared to other states, Michigan now has one of the lowest case rates per 100,000 people in the country, with only two states — North Dakota and Oregon — having lower rates.

In terms of hospitalizations per 100,000 people, Michigan ranks 35th at 170 patients per 100,000 and it ranks 40th in terms of percent of tests coming back positive.

In each case, ranking lower is better. Arizona is No. 1 in hospitalizations with 589 patients per 100,000, triple Michigan’s rate, and Oklahoma has the highest percent positive, 18.2 percent, nearly three times higher than Michigan’s current rate. — Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, Jan. 23

High death toll shows pandemic remains deadly despite overall improvement

Although coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in Michigan, the state reported more than 200 COVID-19 deaths for just the fifth time on Saturday.

The 221 deaths include 205 that followed a review of medical records; those deaths occurred mostly in early January. But 74 occurred in December and three each in October and November.

The state, which three times a week reports COVID-19 deaths that are determined after a review of medical records, has reported more deaths only on two other days: 232 on April 23 and 222 on Jan. 9.

Of the reported deaths, 30 occurred in Oakland County, 24 in Macomb County, 19 in suburban Wayne County and 15 in Genesee County.

The numbers are a reminder of how deadly COVID-19 remains despite weeks of declining infections, lower positive test rates and fewer COVID-19 hospital patients.

The arc of positive news continued Saturday with the state reporting 1,601 new coronavirus infections, pushing the seven-day average down to 1,791, the lowest rate since the third week of October.

The percent of positive tests reported Saturday was 5.9 percent, as is the seven-day average.

Since the pandemic began, 548,069 people have had confirmed coronavirus infections and 14,291 have died from confirmed COVID-19. — Mike Wilkinson


Friday, Jan. 22

More than a half-million Michiganders have first vaccine dose

The rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in Michigan has improved markedly, with 536,000 having gotten at least the first of two doses.

That has improved Michigan’s standing nationally to 25th, up from 45th just two weeks ago in terms of vaccines administered per 100,000 residents. The state ranks 22nd in the rate of people who have gotten both doses; 105,882 people have gotten both as of Friday.

It’s more welcome news as the state continues to see average case rates, hospitalizations and deaths decline. And the percent of coronavirus tests coming back positive stayed below 6 percent, with 5.1 percent of tests reported Friday returning positive. Over the last week, the overall rate has been 5.9 percent.

The state reported 2,157 new confirmed cases and 17 deaths. The cases pushed the seven-day rate down again; it remains among the lowest in the country.

Since the pandemic began, over 546,000 people have been infected and 14,070 have died from COVID-19.

Vaccinations in nursing homes and other senior citizen living facilities have increased, with just over 70,000 getting at least the first dose of the vaccine. The elderly make up a substantial portion of those who have died, with nursing home residents comprising 28 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state— Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, Jan. 21

Cases, hospitalizations fall as state records 14,000th death

Michigan’s COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to fall, the state reported Thursday, but not enough to stop Michigan from passing another grim milestone.

The state recorded and passed its 14,000th death linked to COVID-19 on Thursday after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services added 148 deaths, including 128 of them from a review of medical records of previous deaths. That brought the total count to 14,053 deaths linked to COVID-19.

But overall, case counts, case rates, testing and hospitalizations continued to fall as Michigan continued efforts to distribute COVID vaccines.

The health department reported 2,165 new cases Thursday, bringing the total up to 544,311 and settling the seven-day average to 1,901 cases a day — the lowest since late October. That case count was a stark contrast to daily case counts just before Thanksgiving, when Michigan was reporting an average of more than 7,000 new cases each day between Nov. 19 and 23.

Positive test results fell, too, to just 4.9 percent Thursday, in contrast to a high of 16 percent recorded Dec. 2. Positive test results have remained below 10 percent since Jan. 6.

And for the first time since Nov. 2, there were fewer than 2,000 patients (1,907) in Michigan’s hospitals with confirmed COVID-19. On Nov. 30, Michigan’s hospitals were caring for 4,326 patients with confirmed COVID. — Robin Erb


Wednesday, Jan. 20

Cases and hospitalizations decline; fewer positive tests

Much of Michigan is experiencing a decline in new coronavirus cases and fewer tests are coming back positive, welcome signs that show the deadly second wave of COVID-19 is receding.

The state reported 2,031 new confirmed cases and although that’s higher than the last five days, it still helped bring the seven-day average below 2,000 for the first time since Oct. 25.

On Dec. 1, a number of counties were hitting peak numbers and the state had the most patients yet being treated for COVID-19. Then, Macomb County was experiencing 78 new daily coronavirus cases per 100,000; it was 18 on Wednesday. Oakland was at 57 on Dec. 1; it’s now at 18 cases as well.

Similar trends are found across the state — in Muskegon County, 126 new cases were occurring daily on Nov. 16 per 100,000. Now it’s 12 cases. Bay County hit a rate of 114 daily cases per 100,000 on Nov. 16 and is at 22 cases now.

The percent of coronavirus tests coming back positive hit 6.5 percent Wednesday, the seventh time in eight days below 7 percent.

Just 13 counties have a rate over 10 percent in the past week; there were 27 counties at or above 10 percent a week earlier.

The state reported another 40 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday and state epidemiologist Sarah Lyon-Callo said the state has seen its COVID-19 mortality rate fall for four consecutive weeks.

Since the pandemic began there have been 542,146 confirmed cases and 13,905 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.— Mike Wilkinson 


Tues., Jan 19

Cases remain flat as hospitalizations continue decline

Michigan public health authorities reported 1,738 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, bringing the seven-day average down to 2,072. It hasn’t been below 2,000 since Oct. 25.

Since the pandemic began in March, 540,113 confirmed infections have been reported and 13,865 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, including 41 reported Tuesday.

There are now 2,053 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, down 87 from Monday and 157 from a week ago. A month ago there were over 3,200 COVID-19 patients in Michigan.

The latest testing results — with 7.5 percent positive — marked the first time the total exceeded 7 percent in eight days.

The state, with roughly 7 percent of all tests positive in the last week, has one of the best rates in the country, with only 11 other states having a lower percent positive.

Only four states — Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and North Dakota — have a lower case rate (average new daily infections per 100,000) than Michigan’s 28 daily cases. The national rate is 64 new daily cases per 100,000, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of federal records.

In terms of hospitalizations, the state ranked 35th as of Jan. 14, when federal data were most recently updated. — Mike Wilkinson


Monday, Jan. 18

Vaccine distribution picks up; cases hit three-month low

Michigan has now received 1.05 million total doses of the coronavirus vaccine, with the state reporting Monday that counties have had over 218,000 new doses shipped to them since Friday.

Overall, some 420,000 residents have had at least one of two doses, while 67,815 of those have had both doses.

In the first few weeks of vaccinations, Michigan was among the worst states in doses administered per 100,000 residents. Michigan now ranks 30th, though that does not include doses administered since Thursday.

Over 206,000 doses were administered last week, 58 percent more than the 130,000 the previous week.

Although the pace of vaccinations has increased in the past three weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said there are still unnecessary delays. She has joined with governors in  seven other states to petition the federal government to allow them to work directly with manufacturers to buy doses.

Public health officials have said they are running out of the vaccines, and Wayne County has said it had to reschedule appointments because it had run out.

On Monday, Wayne County announced it was switching from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the Moderna vaccine. Each is considered equally safe but, unlike Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine does not require the extreme low temperatures and extra handling. — Mike Wilkinson


Michigan hits three-month low in new cases

Michigan has one of the lowest rates of new coronavirus infections in the country and one of the lowest positive test rates, according to the latest data from the state.

The state reported an average of 1,421 new cases for Sunday and Monday, pushing the seven-day average to 2,108, or about 21 new daily cases per 100,000 people. The national rate is 66 new daily cases per 100,000. 

The new case rate in Michigan was last this low in late October.

Over the past seven days, just 6.5 percent of tests have come back positive, down from 8.6 percent the week before. Though 10 counties remain above 10 percent, the rest are below, including the most populous: Oakland (6.7 percent), Macomb (7.2), Kent (7.3) and suburban Wayne County (8.2 percent). Detroit is at 4.8 percent over the past week.

The state reported 20 additional COVID-19 deaths on Monday, or an average of 10 for Sunday and Monday. There have been 13,824 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. There have been 538,377 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Hospitalizations again fell from last week, whith 2,140 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, down 82 from Friday. The state does not update hospital numbers over the weekend. — Mike Wilkinson

Saturday, Jan. 16

Washtenaw County woman first in state with COVID variant

Michigan health officials on Saturday announced the state’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus variant, which originated in the United Kingdom and is believed to be more contagious.

The state announced a Washtenaw County woman who recently traveled to the United Kingdom tested positive for the variant, known as B.1.1.7., and came into close contact with two individuals. All are under quarantine.

The confirmation comes as new coronavirus cases are declining in Michigan, but the same week that health officials warned that the United States has two distinct coronavirus variants and many more likely will be identified in coming weeks.

“The discovery of this variant in Michigan is concerning, but not unexpected,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said in a statement. 

“We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”


New cases fall below 2,000 for first time since December

For the fourth straight day, Michigan health officials on Saturday reported that fewer than 7 percent coronavirus tests were positive, falling to 6.1 percent with Friday’s tests.

The percentage of positive tests has fallen steadily since hitting 10.5 percent on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5, a promising sign that widespread infections are subsiding.

The state also reported 1,932 new coronavirus infections, the first time under 2,000 since Dec. 27 and 28. That brings the seven-day average to 2,350 cases, the lowest in over two months. It was last lower on Oct. 27, at 2,126.

The total number of coronavirus infections now stands at 535,534. The 103 deaths reported Saturday — 93 from January and the rest in December — brings the total to 13,804.

Of the newly reported deaths, 16 were in Macomb County, 13 in Oakland County and 10 in suburban Wayne County.

Compared to other states, Michigan’s case rate is one of the lowest. It has averaged 30 new daily cases — confirmed and probable — over the past week, good for 47th in the country, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of federal coronavirus data. — Mike Wilkinson


Whitmer joins other governors in asking for more vaccine doses

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and governors of Wisconsin and Minnesota on Friday asked the Trump administration to allow the three states to buy coronavirus vaccines directly from manufacturers.

Whitmer, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz made the request in a letter to U.S. Human Services Secretary Alex Azar as many states are set to run out of the vaccines before the next wave of shipments arrive.

The request from the Democrats comes as a promise earlier this week to release millions of doses held in reserve may not come to fruition because there is no reserve, according to the Washington Post.

Azar announced the plan to release the doses this week, but the Post reported the reserve had already been allocated and shipped in late December.

Michigan is 30th among states for administering an initial dose and 28th in getting both doses. Just under 350,000 statewide have received at least one dose and, of those, 57,000 have received the second.

Outside of weekends, the state is averaging about 32,000 vaccinations a day this week, up from 22,000 a day the week before.

Whitmer and the others said their states need more vaccines from the manufacturers.

“If you are unable or unwilling to give us that supply, we urge you to grant permission for us to directly purchase vaccines so we may distribute them to the people of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as quickly as possible,” they said in their statement. — Mike Wilkinson


Friday, Jan. 15

Coronavirus case counts stable

Michigan’s daily coronavirus count remained stable again Friday, with 2,598 new confirmed cases reported as positive tests fell below 7 percent for the second straight day.

The new cases bring the seven-day average to 2,461, nearly equal to the recent low on Dec. 28 before a slight rise following Christmas. Since the pandemic began the state has reported 533,602 cases and now 13,701 deaths, including 29 reported Friday.

The promising trends include the lower case counts but also test positivity: 6.3 percent of the most recent tests came back positive, the second time under 7 percent in two days and fifth day in six they’ve been below 8 percent.

And no county in the state has a rate over 20 percent for the first time in many weeks; Hillsdale County has the highest seven-day rate at 18.8 percent. Rates are down in most counties, including the most populous: It’s at 5.6 percent in Detroit, 8.3 percent in Kent County, 8.7 percent in Macomb and 9.2 in suburban Wayne.

On Dec. 1, Macomb had hit 19 percent, Kent was at 14.5, Wayne was at 14.4 and Detroit was at 8.6 percent.

And for the first time since Nov. 4, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients fell below 2,000 with 1,992 patients reported Friday.

The drop from a high of 3,900 COVID-19 patients on Dec. 1 has been steady but not as sharp as the increase that began once the coronavirus second wave hit. At the beginning of October there were fewer than 500 confirmed COVID-19 patients; it was 1,500 on Nov. 1 and then 3,900 a month later. — Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, Jan. 14

Counts, hospitalizations stable as positive tests decline

Evidence that any post-holiday bump in coronavirus cases is over is emerging from the state’s data.

The number of new cases reported Thursday — 2,698 — is almost identical to Wednesday and pushed the seven-day average down for the sixth straight day, now at 2,608.

Also, the percent of coronavirus tests coming back positive fell to 6.3 percent of 48,900 tests, with the seven-day average falling to 7.6 percent.

And the number of people hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inched lower, to 2,238 people.

All are positive signs after a brief rise in cases over 11 days beginning Dec. 28. But state officials are still cautiously optimistic.

“We are glad that we made it through the holidays without a big increase in numbers, but there have been some worrying signs in the new numbers,” said Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

The state has also improved its national standing in vaccine distribution, moving to 29th among all states, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state had been among the worst just a week ago. Through Tuesday the state said over 332,000 people have gotten the first of two required vaccine doses, including over 52,000 residents and staff of long-term care facilities including nursing homes.

Long-term care facilities have accounted for 40 percent of all of the 13,672 deaths in Michigan, and similar percentages of COVID-19 deaths nationwide.

The state reported 139 new COVID-19 deaths yesterday, of which 126 occurred this month with the other 13 occurring in December. — Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, Jan. 13

Positive test rate hits recent low

For the first time since October, the percent of coronavirus tests coming back positive fell below 7 percent, hitting 6.9 percent among nearly 39,000 tests, the state reported Wednesday.

The positive test rate, which hit a high of 16 percent on Dec. 2, has not been as low as 6.9 percent since Oct. 29, when it was 6.6 percent. The state has set a target of 3 percent.

That good news is coupled with another drop in the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19: as of Wednesday there were 2,246, the fewest since Nov. 4 where there were a reported 2,215 COVID-19 patients.

The state also reported 2,694 new coronavirus infections, for a total of 528,306, and 32 additional COVID-19 deaths. There have now been 13,533 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, including 583 in January.

The state has averaged 2,700 cases a day in the past week.

Only four states have a lower daily cases rate per 100,000 than Michigan does, according to federal data analyzed by Bridge Michigan. The state’s past week positive test rate, 8.9 percent, is higher than only 12 other states.—  Mike Wilkinson


Shirkey announces he had COVID-19 and recovered

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a fierce critic of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pandemic policies, tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 23 and has since recovered, a spokesperson announced Wednesday. 

It’s not immediately clear why the Clarklake Republican waited three weeks to publicly disclose the diagnosis. He reported his positive test result to the Senate Business Office “in accordance with Senate policy,” said Amber McCann. 

Shirkey “experienced a fever and was fatigued” but recovered during a home quarantine, she told reporters. 

The Senate GOP leader “believes” he was exposed on Dec. 19 and had not been in Lansing since Dec. 18, McCann said. She later issued a correction, acknowledging Shirkey was in Lansing on Dec. 21 and visited the state House for outgoing House Speaker Lee Chatfield’s farewell address.

Shirkey is the 14th Michigan lawmaker known to have contracted COVID-19 since March, when Rep. Isaac Robinson died from what was believed to be virus complications. State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, disclosed a positive test result last week. Dozens of staffers also tested positive last year.

Michigan public health officials reported just under 2,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing down the seven-day average to almost 3,000 a day as the percent of positive tests hit 7.2 percent.

The state also reported 100 COVID-19 deaths, 96 from January and the others from December.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 525,612 confirmed cases and 13,501 deaths.

Across the state case counts have fallen, easing pressure on hospitals. Oakland County, for instance, was averaging more than 700 cases a day in late November; it’s now at 342 daily cases.

The state also reported that 7.2 percent of 34,700 tests came back positive, extending the decline in test positivity that health officials say is key to keeping low to minimize spread of the coronavirus.

There was a slight increase in the number of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in state hospitals, with 2,443 reported on Tuesday, up 47 from Monday. But that number is 315 lower than it was a week ago.— Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, Jan. 12

New coronavirus cases, test positivity rates fall

Michigan public health officials reported just under 2,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing down the seven-day average to almost 3,000 a day as the percent of positive tests hit 7.2 percent.

The state also reported 100 COVID-19 deaths, 96 from January and the others from December.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 525, 612 confirmed cases and 13,501 deaths.

Across the state case counts have fallen, easing pressure on hospitals. Oakland County, for instance, was averaging more than 700 cases a day in late November; it’s now at 342 daily cases.

The state also reported that 7.2 percent of 34,700 tests came back positive, extending the decline in test positivity that health officials say is key to keeping low to minimize spread of the coronavirus.

There was a slight increase in the number of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in state hospitals, with 2,443 reported on Tuesday, up 47 from Monday. But that number is 315 lower than it was a week ago. — Mike Wilkinson


Monday, Jan. 11

Cases, test positivity remain stable as hospitalizations continue to fall

Amid worries about a possible post-holiday coronavirus surge, Michigan reported an average of 2,268 new confirmed cases for Sunday and Monday, keeping the overall seven-day average nearly unchanged.

With the new cases, which push the total to 523,618, the state is averaging 3,017 cases a day — almost identical to the rate over each of the past five days. 

While still well above what was seen as recently as Oct. 1, when the state was averaging 900 cases a day, it’s well below the 7,200 it was averaging just before Thanksgiving and just after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration ordered a “pause” in some business and social activities.

In other coronavirus news: 

  • The state also reported 47 additional deaths, bringing the total to 13,401.
  • Hospitalization fell below 2,400 statewide for the first time since Nov. 5.
  • The state reported that 232,000 people have been vaccinated, up from 195,000 last Friday. Nationally, however, the 2,227 people per 100,000 who have been vaccinated ranks the state 39th among all statesMike Wilkinson

Saturday, Jan. 9

Michigan records second deadliest COVID day Saturday

Michigan reported another 222 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, the second deadliest day of the pandemic. The state indicated that half of the new deaths occurred in January, with the rest from November and December.

The only day with a higher reported number of deaths was April 21, when 232 were reported.

The high toll comes as the number of new coronavirus cases in Michigan has stabilized — it was 2,706 on Saturday — after rising for about two weeks.

The 111 deaths recorded Saturday from December pushed that month’s death total to 3,302.

Overall, there have been 519,082 confirmed coronavirus cases and 13,354 COVID-19 deaths in Michigan during the pandemic. 

The worst stretch of death came between Nov. 21, when 111 COVID-19 deaths occurred, and Dec. 21, when another 113 happened. Over those 31 days, a total of 3,450 people died of COVID-19, an average of 111 each day.

The daily death toll has fallen in recent weeks, coinciding with fewer coronavirus infections and fewer COVID-19 patients in Michigan hospitals (the state does not report updated hospitalization data on Saturdays).

Another encouraging note: For the second straight day, the COVID-19 tests coming back positive stayed below 9 percent (8.3 percent). It had averaged nearly 10 percent from Dec. 31 through Jan. 5.  

The state does not update vaccine distribution data on Saturdays. As of Friday, 195,240 doses of approved vaccines had been administered across Michigan, with 10,215 going to nursing home residents and staff. The state had received 725,850 doses as of Friday. Like many states, Michigan has had some early stumbles in getting vaccines administered. — Mike Wilkinson


Friday, Jan. 8 

Case count averages rise Friday, but positive signs emerge

Despite a small rise in the average number of new coronavirus infections in Michigan, the state reported Friday fewer people in the hospital, fewer deaths and a lower positive test rate.

Overall, there were 3,625 new confirmed coronavirus cases, pushing the seven-day daily average up to 3,178, the highest since Dec. 23.

And the past week of higher case counts have pushed the rate up in many counties across the state, though far below the November and December highs they experienced.

But the number of hospitalizations fell, with just under 2,500 patients treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, down from Thursday and down just over 200 from Monday’s total.

That is welcome news as is the percent positive rate: 8.7 percent from over 52,000 tests. The rate had bumped up over 10 percent in the past week after going as low as 7 percent (3 percent is the state’s target goal).

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said that the coronavirus trends will be watched as her administration looks at restrictions set to expire Jan. 15. Hospitalizations, case counts and positive test rates are all big factors, she has said.

The state reported Friday that it vaccinated over 26,000 people on Thursday, by far the most vaccinated in one day, and nearly 11,000 more than on its previous high the day before.

The state also reported 38 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the January total to 302 and the overall total to 13,132. — Mike Wilkinson


Thursday, Jan. 7

Holiday gatherings may have spurred uptick in cases

With Michigan reporting another 4,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, it’s looking more likely that holiday gatherings have spurred another uptick in cases.

The new infections push the seven-day daily average to nearly 3,100, the highest since Dec. 23.

After the second wave of cases peaked on Nov. 21, with a daily average of over 7,200 cases, it steadily fell, hitting a low of 2,400 on Dec. 28. It has slowly risen since and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others in her administration said they were looking at case trends to see if the holidays would have an impact. Whitmer said Wednesday that data on travel indicated people had been moving around more.

The governor has said that trends on cases, hospitalizations and positive test rates will have an impact on whether restrictions, like those on restaurants and bars, will be lifted before the current Jan. 15 expiration date or possibly extended.

Although case rates are up, they are half — or even lower — of what they were in December and November when the state, like much of the country was hit the hardest.

That pushed hospitalization rates to their highest since the pandemic began but they have steadily gone down, as they did again Thursday, with just under 2,600 patients statewide being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

But the percent of coronavirus tests coming back positive is also up. Over the past week, nearly 10 percent of tests (9.7) have been positive, compared to 8.5 percent of tests in the week prior.

The state also reported 176 COVID-19 deaths Thursday. Of those, 106 have occurred in January, 68 in December, 1 in November and one back in May (the state routinely reviews earlier deaths to see if medical records indicate it could be a COVID-19 death).

Oakland County (31) had the most reported deaths, followed by suburban Wayne County (20) and Macomb County (14).

The state reported it vaccinated the most people yet in a single day on Wednesday — 24,836, pushing the overall total to 174,749 people. The state also reported it had received another 60,000 doses, bringing the total to 725,850.

Whitmer announced Wednesday that all people 65 or older, along with some frontline workers like teachers and law enforcement, would be eligible to receive the vaccine as early as Jan. 11.— Mike Wilkinson


Wednesday, Jan. 6

Infections cross 4,000 for first time in year

Michigan health officials reported 4,326 new infections, the highest number this year — and the highest in three weeks.

The case counts are indicating the end of the steady decline that had started in early December and lasted through the holidays.

For a couple of weeks that data has been volatile — going up and down in big swings, with  Wednesday’s data leaning toward rising cases and higher positive tests. After falling as low as 7 percent two weeks ago, over 10 percent of all new coronavirus tests are now coming back positive.

In terms of cases, after a couple of weeks of steady declines in both daily counts and rates per 100,000 residents, many counties are seeing those number rise — though still far below the case counts of mid-November and early December.

Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Kent counties are all experiencing slight increases, as are many other counties. Suburban Wayne County reported 598 new cases Wednesday, it’s highest number in weeks and the most in the state, followed by Oakland (505), Macomb (405) and Kent (348 cases). — Mike Wilkinson


Tuesday, Jan. 5

Case counts fall but December deaths top 3,000; more vaccines arrive

Michigan reported 2,119 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Tuesday, halting several days of increases in the seven-day average of cases.

Since Dec. 29, the average number of cases had risen but declined with Tuesday’s case count to 2,927.

Infections are down across the state and are a fraction of what they were just six weeks ago. On Nov. 21, eight counties were averaging 100 new infections daily for every 100,000 people and another six were between 90 and 100 new daily cases.

On Tuesday, no county had a rate over 60 new daily cases and 53 of the state’s 83 counties had a rate lower than 30 daily cases per 100,000, including most of the more populous counties. Kent County, the state’s fourth largest by population, was at 35 new daily cases per 100,000 — it was 99 on Nov. 21.

But the state reported another 189 COVID-19 deaths, with most of those occurring in December, pushing to 3,017 the total deaths last month, the second most deadly — behind April — since the pandemic began. There have been 117 COVID-19 deaths so far in 2021.

The latest testing data showed that just over 10 percent of tests returned  positive and hospitalizations, which had been steadily falling for several weeks, rose slightly, with 2,758 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, up from 2,698 on Monday. — Mike Wilkinson


Michigan gets 140,000 more vaccine doses

Michigan health officials on Tuesday reported the shipment of another 140,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine, though they arrive as the state has struggled to administer the first 380,000 already sent to the state.

So far Michigan has now received 520,150 doses of the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, with the Pfizer vaccine making up over 411,000 doses of the total.

With the latest data, however, the state reported 140,245 doses had been administered and a Bridge Michigan report showed the state has one of the lowest rates of vaccine administration.

However, the state’s data  — shared daily with the federal government — may be substantially undercounting vaccinations. Linda Vail, health officer for Ingham County, said hospitals in the county, along with the health department, have vaccinated over 7,000 people. But the state’s latest data indicate just 2,600 vaccinations have occurred in the county.

Health officials told Bridge that a number of health care workers have been reluctant to get the vaccine, with thousands declining the opportunity. — Mike Wilkinson


Monday, Jan. 4

Michigan crosses 500,000 mark in cases

More than 500,000 Michigan residents have now been infected with the coronavirus, with the state reporting nearly 5,000 new cases on Monday.

Those cases, 4,992 over two days, or 2,496 a day, put the total since March at 502,119.

The case counts pushed the seven-day daily average up to 3,087; they had fallen below 2,500 on Dec. 28 but are still well below the November high of nearly 7,300 daily cases. The rate per 100,000 residents — 31 new daily cases — is also far below neighboring states and the national average of 67 daily cases per 100,000.

The state reported 80 additional COVID-19 deaths. So far in January, there have been 58 COVID-19 deaths with the others reported Monday occurring in December, which now has had 2,888 deaths.

Testing data showed a 7.8 percent positive rate for the most recent day, following three days where the rate had averaged over 10 percent. The state’s goal is 3 percent; it reached as high as 16 percent, on Dec. 2.

The number of COVID-19 patients in Michigan hospitals continued to fall, though slightly. There were 2,698 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients as of Monday, down from 2,758 reported on Dec. 30. — Mike Wilkinson


Saturday, Jan. 2

Over 200 COVID-19 deaths reported as case counts rise

Michigan recorded 265 COVID-related deaths Saturday covering a three-day period. The state emerged from a deadly December, when it averaged 92 deaths a day linked to the virus, for a total of 2,857, making it the second deadliest month of the pandemic. Only April was higher.    

December’s toll will likely rise even higher as more death certificates are finalized and reported.

Suburban Wayne County, excluding Detroit, had 36 of the newly reported deaths, Macomb County had 30 and Oakland County had 21. Genesee has 13 and St. Clair 12.

The new report, which covered Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and Saturday, also showed 8,983 new coronavirus infections, or roughly 2,994 for each of the three days. That puts the state’s seven-day average of cases at 2,837. That daily average has risen daily since Dec. 28 when it stood at 2,444.

The increase has pushed up infection totals in several counties around the state including Oakland (from a seven-day average of 248 cases a week ago to 288 cases in the current week) and Kent (from 174 to 227).

But other areas continued to see infection averages fall, including Detroit (119 to 104 daily cases), Macomb County (206 to 197) and suburban Wayne County (306 daily cases to 253).

The state does not report vaccine and hospital data on weekends and testing data typically available was not released today. — Mike Wilkinson

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