MI records 11 more coronavirus-related deaths, 680 cases

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has recorded 11 more deaths linked to coronavirus and confirmed 680 more cases, the latest data shows.

The data released Tuesday brings the total number of deaths to 6,623 and the total number of confirmed cases to 113,183 since the virus was first detected in Michigan in March.

On Tuesday, labs in Michigan tested 31,009 samples for the virus and 974 came back positive. The number of positive tests and new cases do not match because people may be tested more than once.

The rate of positive tests was 3.14%. The seven-day average of that percentage has been higher recently than public health officials would like to see — they say a rate below 3% will show community spread is controlled.

Wayne County, which has been hit hardest by the virus, saw three more deaths for a total of 2,780. It also confirmed 120 additional cases for a total of 31,567 since the start of the outbreak. Oakland County has had 15,780 confirmed cases (63 more than the previous day) and 1,140 deaths (one more). Macomb County has had 13,322 cases (30 more) and 958 deaths (one more).

Ottawa County recorded an additional death for a total of 62. It added 20 more cases for a total of 2,889. County health department officials on Wednesday told Grand Valley State University to stay in place for two weeks as it attempts to quell a coronavirus outbreak.

Deaths in Kent County stood at 170. It added 43 more cases for a total of 8,410.

Statewide, hospitalization figures remain low, as do the numbers of deaths each day. The number of new cases per million people per day appears steady in recent weeks.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, reminded people during a Wednesday press conference with the governor that even when COVID-19 is not fatal, recovery can take a long time. It can also cause long-lasting health problems with the lungs, heart and kidneys.

Addressing questions about why indoor bar service is still not allowed, Khaldun said there is data showing bars are often the center of outbreaks and that Michigan saw that firsthand during the brief period this summer when indoor bar service was permitted.

The state has also launched a $10 million project to test wastewater to identify coronavirus outbreak under a three-month pilot program in partnership with counties, universities and other institutions. The cash is coming from the federal CARES Act.

State agencies say the wastewater testing can serve as an early warning of an outbreak and help contain cases before they grow.

“The ability to predict outbreaks on college campuses, at nursing homes, prisons, and other congregate care facilities could be game-changer in our mission to slow the spread of this virus,” Lisel Clark, the director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, said in a Wednesday release.

Hope College is already testing wastewater to identify residence halls where students may have the virus.