Michigan adds 5 coronavirus deaths, confirms 262 new cases

Michigan reported five coronavirus deaths and confirmed 262 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. 

New infections in Michigan are on the rise after weeks of decline, but hospitals overall are not reporting an increase in COVID-19 patients. In another good sign, the percentage of those testing positive for the virus is flat at about 2.5%. 

The average number of new cases for the past seven days is up to 311 a day from an average of 223 a day for the previous seven-day period, according to state data. In addition to the 262 cases confirmed Wednesday, the state reported 99 probable cases.

Due to the uptick in cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is considering reimposing some restrictions in certain regions of the state.

Whitmer said Tuesday that lower Michigan would not move forward from Phase 4 of reopening to Phase 5 before July 4, though she expressed hope last month for as much.

Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula already progressed to Phase 5, which has allowed the reopening of limited-capacity indoor movie theaters and gyms subject to safety procedures designed to minimize the spread of the virus. 

“A lot of states in the country are watching cases grow exponentially and worrying that their ICUs are filling up,” Whitmer said in a Tuesday press briefing, referring to intensive care units.

“We are not in that position, but our numbers are not as strong today as they were a couple of weeks ago.”

A larger proportion of positive cases in May and June are coming from ages 15-29, compared with prior months. That could help explain why hospitalization rates statewide were falling or flat during June, since younger age groups have lower rates of hospitalization than older groups, health officials say.

Hospitalizations statewide fell again this week, with 325 inpatients with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, including 193 in critical care and 103 on ventilators.That’s compared with 346 inpatients a week ago, including 195 in critical care and 115 on ventilators. 

The state on Friday “paused” the 250-bed regional field hospital built at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, similar to the wind-down of the 1,000-bed field hospital at the TCF Center in Detroit in May.

The last patient was discharged June 11 from the Suburban Collection medical facility, which treated 16 patients total, said Michelle Grinnell, spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“As was the case with TCF Regional Care Center, this is a pause versus a closure, with SCS Regional Care Center standing ready to receive patients again if the need arises throughout the state,” Grinnell said. 

The TCF Regional Care Center opened April 10 amid the rapid growth of COVID cases in Detroit and treated a total 39 patients before going into “pause” status in early May.

To date, the state has tallied 71,089 known cases of COVID-19, including 6,957 probable cases, since the disease was first detected in Michigan in March. 

Michigan’s death toll from the disease now stands at 6,198, including 247 probable deaths.

Wednesday’s five new deaths included one probable death — an individual who didn’t test positive for the virus but whose death certificate listed COVID as a cause of death.

The uptick in recent cases is in part due to outbreaks at farms and factories in some parts of the state, including Oceana, Newaygo, Branch and Lapeer counties. 

The Lansing and Grand Rapids regions have experienced a spike in cases, increasing to a daily rate above 20 new positive cases per 1 million people, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Tuesday. 

The Detroit, Kalamazoo, Saginaw and Jackson regions also are seeing spikes, but the rates are below 20 new positive cases per 1 million people.

Michigan ranks No. 11 among states for the most cases of COVID and sixth for deaths, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. 

mburke@detroitnews.com

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