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Michigan adds 37,114 cases, 251 deaths from COVID-19 over 2 days


Michigan on Friday added 37,114 COVID-19 cases and 251 deaths from the virus, including cases from Thursday.

The state averaged 18,557 confirmed cases per day over the two days. Of the latest deaths reported, 140 were identified during a delayed records review, according to the state health department.

The additions bring the state overall totals to 1,746,707 confirmed cases and 28,479 deaths since March 2020.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 4,579 adults and 117 children are hospitalized with confirmed infections. Pediatric hospitalizations are at the highest since the start of the pandemic. About 83% of the state's inpatient hospital beds are occupied.

Adult hospitalizations are nearly Monday's record inpatient tally of 4,580 adults, which broke a previous record set on Dec. 13, when the state health department reported 4,518 adults were hospitalized with confirmed virus infections.

The newest additions come one week after the state reported more than 20,000 cases per day last week.

Michigan's top health officials have described the state's COVID-19 situation as "critical," and have urged vaccinations and boosters and masking amid a fourth surge of the virus is driving up hospitalizations. 

About 26% of hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients as of Friday and there were an average of 2,686 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 per day in the state.

According to the state's modeling projections, cases are showing a sharp increase compared to last year, hospitalizations are higher than last year, and deaths are similar to last year.

Based on recent data from most Michigan health systems, the state health department found that in 2021, 88% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized were unvaccinated and 85% of COVID-related deaths were occurring in unvaccinated individuals. 

Beaumont Health, Michigan's largest hospital system, warned that it had reached a "breaking point" amid the surge, and said that a federal medical team is extending its 30-day commitment to its Dearborn location an additional 30 days. 

The federal government granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's request for more staffing help at Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte to treat a surge of COVID-19 patients and others in need of care there. 

In its first phase, a 30-member team from the National Disaster Medical System deployed to assist Henry Ford Wyandotte, got here Monday and will wrap on Jan. 21. A second team from the Department of Defense will follow and aid the health system for 30 days.

The hospital is the fifth in Michigan getting federal help amid the pandemic. Department of Defense teams are also deployed at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw and Mercy Health Muskegon. 

The current surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations could send an "already stressed" health care system "over the edge," Michigan's top health officials said during a Tuesday presentation.

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"This surge is not like the others," Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state's chief medical executive, told reporters. "This is the highest number of weekly cases that we've ever had."

Omicron variant driving rise in cases

In Michigan, variants of the virus are moving at a high rate, proving more contagious and infecting both unvaccinated and vaccinated residents.

Medical officials are recommending residents wear surgical or KN-95 masks as the omicron variant has been shown to linger on cloth masks.

The state, as of Monday, has confirmed 617 cases of omicron by genetic sequencing at the Michigan Bureau of Laboratories in Lansing. The majority are in southeast Michigan. But experts say that a greater number of people are likely infected because only a small percentage of samples of the virus are sequenced. Roughly 95% of cases of COVID-19 in the country are caused by the omicron variant, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It does appear that omicron is the predominant strain, which varies region to region," Bagdasarian said Tuesday. "We're likely in a situation where omicron is somewhere around 90% in some regions of the state."

For subscribers: When medical experts think omicron will peak in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory in November recommending people wear masks at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status. It remains in effect until further notice.

Michigan's latest data

Michigan remains at a high transmission rate and the state's percent of tests returning positive has increased over the last three weeks. Illinois and Michigan have the highest case rates in Midwest; New York City and Rhode Island have the highest case rates in U.S.

Cases among pediatric populations have also increased 24% since last week. Bagdasarian said Tuesday there are 22 new pediatric admissions each day in the state.

About 35% of K-12 school districts have mandatory mask policies in the state covering 55% of students. 

There have been 208 cases of a rare inflammatory condition formed in children from the COVID-19 virus where multiple organ systems become inflamed or dysfunctional. Of the cases, 147 - or 70% - were admitted to the intensive care units and there have been five deaths.

Made with Flourish

About 63.3%, or 6.3 million, residents have received their first doses of a vaccine, as of Wednesday, and 57% are fully vaccinated. So far, more than 196,000 children ages 5 to 11 in Michigan, or 23%, have received their first dose of the vaccine.

More than 2.5 million vaccine booster doses have been administered in Michigan. 

Approximately 2% of those fully vaccinated have been reported with a breakthrough infection, according to the state health department.

The state considered 1,342,025 people recovered from the virus as of Jan. 7. 

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_