612 more coronavirus cases confirmed in Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has recorded 15 more deaths linked to coronavirus and on Thursday confirmed 612 more cases of the virus, the latest state data shows.

The state says all 15 deaths were discovered during a check of death certificates to find any that had not been reported. The state has been running those checks routinely each week for months.

The total number of deaths linked to the virus is now 6,039 and there have been 68,295 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in March.

Labs in Michigan on Thursday tested 23,376 samples for the virus and 754 came back positive. The number of positive tests and the number of newly confirmed cases do not match because many people are tested twice for confirmation purposes. The positive test rate Thursday was 3.23%, an improvement over the last few days but still higher than it has been since early June.

Hospitalizations have not changed much throughout the week, increasing by only a few.

Kent County recorded two more deaths, bringing the total to 138, and confirmed 69 additional cases for a total of 5,189 since the outbreak started. Authorities said Thursday that the Grand Rapids region now has the highest rate of new coronavirus cases in the state.

Wayne County added five deaths and 109 cases to its tally, bringing the totals to 2,628 and 22,755 since March. Neighboring Oakland County has had 9,405 confirmed cases and 1,060 deaths. Macomb County has had 7,490 cases and 887 deaths.

Muskegon County recorded one more death for a total of 54. It has had 887 cases.

The number of deaths in Barry County was revised down by one, making the total two. It has had 109 cases. It’s not unusual for death or case counts to change like this as records are checked to confirm no one is counted twice and to confirm that cases are being tracked in the correct jurisdiction.

In Kalamazoo, one employee of the Grifols BioMat USA plasma donation center on E. Kalamazoo Avenue tested positive for the virus and is showing symptoms. Health officials say the worker was wearing protective equipment while working but that the prolonged, close contact of donation means the virus may still have been spread.

Anyone who was at the donation center between June 27 and 29 or on July 3, July 6, July 8 or July 9 is advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and get tested for the virus.

The Kalamazoo County Health Department says it is working to trace anyone the employee may have had contact with, but says it could be difficult.

Worried about an uptick in cases in the last couple of weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday strengthened her mandate that everyone wear masks in public places. You must now wear a mask anytime you can’t keep 6 feet away from people outside your household. If you don’t you could be charged with a misdemeanor and have to pay a fine. And starting Monday, businesses that don’t require masks could lose their license.