Michigan remains at coronavirus plateau, but Whitmer not planning to remove State of Emergency
LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan remains at the coronavirus plateau Gov. Gretchen Whitmer described last week with new case counts around 500 to 600 per day.
While Michigan’s coronavirus situation remains better than other states with stable daily increases, she has no plans to remove the State of Emergency that allows many of her orders aimed at preventing the illness from spreading.
Whitmer said the State of Emergency may remain in place until a vaccine is approved and widely distributed in Michigan. But she pledged to watch coronavirus trends and she wouldn’t rule out removing the State of Emergency is illness levels plummet.
“As long as COVID is prevalent in such numbers, at any moment we could have an outbreak that could contribute to community spread and change our fortunes really fast,” Whitmer said.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 616 newly confirmed cases of the illness and nine deaths on Wednesday. The state now has confirmed a total of 94,278 cases of coronavirus and 6,349 deaths attributed to the illness.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive, said most new cases in the state now are related to localized outbreaks. Health departments investigated 85 new outbreaks last week, mostly related to long-term care facilities, social gatherings, offices, agriculture and food processing centers and manufacturing plans.
“Do not think you are going to somehow outsmart this virus,” Khaldun said. “If you try to sneak and you have large gatherings and you don’t social distance and you don’t wear your mask, there’s a good chance you are going to come in contact with some who has the disease.”
She reiterated that anyone with COVID-19 can spread it rapidly, which could lead to a serious illness.
“If you’re lucky, you get to keep your life and you don’t die. But even if you live, there are many people that have long-term health consequences,” Khaldun said.
She said new coronavirus cases are increasing the fastest in the Detroit region on the MI Safe Start map, but most of those cases are occurring in the suburban areas and not in the city of Detroit. The region saw an average of 61 new cases per million residents daily over the past couple weeks.
The Saginaw region was the second highest at 54 new cases per million residents daily, followed by the Kalamazoo region at 50 new cases per million people daily, the Upper Peninsula at 47 new cases per million residents per day and the Grand Rapids region at 34 cases per million residents.
The Lansing, Jackson and Traverse City regions all remain at fewer than 30 new cases per million residents daily.
Despite a one-month low in coronavirus testing statewide so far this week, Khaldun said the state still completed an average of 28,000 tests per day over the past two weeks. That means state health officials are reaching their goal of testing 2% of the population every week.
The number of tests rebounded on Tuesday with nearly 33,000 completed in Michigan. The percentage of positive tests remained below 3% on Tuesday, marking the first two-day stretch of fewer than 3% of coronavirus tests coming back positive since July 4 and 5.
“When you’re testing enough and only a small percent of those tests is coming back positive … that’s a really good sign that the spread of the disease is under control,” Khaldun said.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 657 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected coronavirus illnesses on Tuesday. Of those, 80 were on ventilators and 169 were being treated in an intensive care unit.
Here are totals for Mid-Michigan counties based on Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health department figures with the change from Tuesday:
- Genesee, 3,064 cases and 274 deaths, which is an increase of 15 cases and one death.
- Saginaw, 2,098 cases, 126 deaths and 1,183 patients recovered, which is an increase of 15 cases, one death and 12 recoveries.
- Arenac, 42 cases and three deaths, which is no change.
- Bay, 652 cases, 36 deaths and 466 patients recovered, which is an increase of six cases, one death and 38 recoveries.
- Clare, 81 cases and three deaths, which is no change.
- Gladwin, 64 cases and two deaths, which is no change.
- Gratiot, 149 cases and 15 deaths, which is no change.
- Huron, 154 cases and four deaths, which is an increase of four cases.
- Iosco, 116 cases and 11 deaths, which is no change.
- Isabella, 203 cases and nine deaths, which is an increase of two cases.
- Lapeer, 426 cases and 33 deaths, which is an increase of one death.
- Midland, 281 cases and 10 deaths, which is an increase of two cases.
- Ogemaw, 40 cases and three deaths, which is no change.
- Oscoda, 22 cases and one death, which is no change.
- Roscommon, 53 cases and three deaths, which is an increase of one case and one death.
- Sanilac, 113 cases and five deaths, which is no change.
- Shiawassee, 337 cases, 28 deaths and 282 patients recovered, which is an increase of one case and 16 recoveries.
- Tuscola, 347 cases and 29 deaths, which is an increase of one case.
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