COVID-19 deaths begin to increase in mid-Michigan

While infections have been increasing, death rates remained low, until now
This map shows the number of coronavirus cases in Saginaw County as of Nov. 6, 2020.
This map shows the number of coronavirus cases in Saginaw County as of Nov. 6, 2020.(source: Saginaw County Health Department)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:11 PM EST
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - We’ve been reporting how COVID-19 infections have increased across the country, the state, and here in mid-Michigan.

While the infections have been going up, the death rate hasn’t been increasing.

But the latest numbers indicate that trend appears to be changing.

“When we saw this sharp increase in the hospitalizations, that typically is that precursor, its a lag for the data to represent an increase in deaths,” says Saginaw County Health Department Public Officer Christina Harrington.

But the Saginaw County Health Department is now starting to see a sharp increase of COVID-19 related deaths in the county.

“When more people are doing worse, with COVID, that need to be hospitalized, that is putting them into a whole different level of risk category,” she says.

In the past twelve days, the health department is reporting 26 COVID-19 deaths, a dramatic increase from previous weeks. One person who died in the past twelve days was 53 years old, while the others were 68 or older.\

Genesee County is seeing the increase as well, as the health department is reporting a 93% increase in deaths in the past two weeks, compared to the prior two weeks.

The Bay County Health Department reports 13 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of this month, one of the deadliest periods the county has seen during the pandemic.

“The 20 through 29 age group is our greatest percentage of people in Saginaw County who have COVID-19,” says Saginaw County Medical Director Dr. Delicia Pruitt.

That age group has seen no COVID-19 related deaths in Saginaw County, but Pruitt is concerned for the upcoming holidays, when the twenty-somethings come home for family get-togethers. She is hoping people will refrain from hosting large family gatherings next week.

“Four or five families getting together for Thanksgiving, this is not the year, because I promise you there will be a vulnerable person in that group,” says Dr. Pruitt.

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