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Michigan adds 2,694 cases, 32 deaths from COVID-19


Michigan on Wednesday added 2,694 new cases of the coronavirus and 32 deaths linked to COVID-19.

The latest figures bring the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan to 528,306 and deaths to 13,533 since the virus was first detected in March, according to tracking by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The state recorded 756 deaths from the virus last week, an increase from 569 deaths the previous week. The weekly record of 808 deaths was recorded in mid-December.

The state also recorded 21,455 new cases last week, an increase from 19,858 cases the previous week. At the end of November, the state established the weekly record of 50,892 cases.

The state has opened up vaccination opportunities to all Michigan residents over the age of 65 and to front-line workers and teachers, but many health departments and hospitals say they are not equipped to meet the demand.

For subscribers: Vaccine demand in Michigan is outpacing supplies

The new phase will allow for the 65 and older age group to receive a vaccine as well as front-line workers such as first responders, some state and federal workers and jail and prison staff. Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers and childcare providers also will be eligible for vaccinations. 

Vaccines continue to be distributed to health care workers and nursing home residents. Supplies are limited and are running out within seven days of Michigan receiving them, and "that is a good thing," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

"Please be patient, we do not have enough vaccines and it takes time to administer, but we are building quickly and it looks like we’re going to be coming into more vaccines soon,” Whitmer said. “This is the greatest tool we have to end this pandemic.”

Whitmer's administration said Wednesday its "working plan" is to begin allowing indoor dining at restaurants and bars on Feb. 1.

The plan will include capacity limits and a curfew, and the "ultimate decision depends on COVID-19 data continuing to stabilize," according to a press release from Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The latest data

During the week of Jan. 2, Michigan dropped from the 19th-highest number of cases in the nation to the 20th-highest. The state ranks eighth-highest for the number of deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control's COVID data tracker.

Michigan ranks 32th in the nation for most hospitalizations and 12th for most patients in intensive care units, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

In Michigan, 12.1% of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients, health officials said.

As of Tuesday, 2,415 adults were hospitalized statewide with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including 525 in critical care and 285 on ventilators, with ICU beds at 74% capacity, according to state data.

While Nevada, Alabama, California, and Georgia have the highest rates of hospitalizations, the Midwest states including Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan are showing a slow continuous decline, according to the state's data.

Approximately 9.1% of the state's tests are returning positive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said Wednesday.  A positivity rate above 3% is concerning to public health officials.

"We are in a much better place than we were in the beginning of November," Khaldun said. "We are in a much better space than most other states, however, while we have not identified the new, more easily transmitted version of the virus, that new strain is present in several other states. And it may be present in Michigan, we just have not identified it yet."

Active cases remain most prevalent in Wayne County, with 61,487 cases and additional 28,864 cases in Detroit. Oakland County has 65,546 cases, and Macomb has 52,367.

The state's case tracker also noted Genesse, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties have high case rates.

Vaccines rolled out in phases

The vaccines will be rolled out in phases. The first priorities for vaccination in Michigan will be frontline healthcare workers and people living and working in long-term care facilities.

Khaldun said the process will take several months to complete at the current rate, but the general public should prepare to receive the vaccine by late spring.

“We are working hard to bring more vaccines into Michigan and identify additional locations for people who want to be vaccinated. Please don’t show up to any location without an appointment," she said.

According to the CDC’s vaccine tracker, 772,150 does have distributed to Michigan and 291,519 does have been administered as of Wednesday.

The virus is blamed for more than 380,000 deaths and 22 million confirmed infections in the United States.

Officials are tracking at least 887 active outbreaks as of Monday, a decline from 1,040 outbreaks two weeks prior. Of the outbreaks, 142 were reported the first week of January, including 47 at long-term care facilities.

Top categories for outbreaks continue to be manufacturing and construction sites, healthcare, retail, schools and social gatherings.

The state recorded three additional school outbreaks Monday, adding to a list of 72 school outbreaks.

The state considers 415,079 people recovered from the virus as of Friday.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_