Michigan State, U-M continue to see increases in COVID-19 cases

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The number of coronavirus cases associated with Michigan State University has risen to 1,420, according to new state data, while outbreaks at K-12 schools all remained fairly small.

The state has been releasing new numbers on outbreaks at K-12 schools, colleges and universities each Monday. Michigan State’s is still the largest by far, with more than 120 new cases in the last week.

Grand Valley State University, which was seeing large numbers, has seen a decline in spread. It now has about 880 cases. The University of Michigan has had 535 — an increase of 240 over the previous week.

Central Michigan’s number remained about 320 and Adrian College about 250.

Kellogg Community College, meanwhile, announced Monday it is moving online for the rest of the semester to mitigate the spread of the virus amid an increase in cases in Calhoun, Branch and Barry counties. The number of cases within the campus community, it said, is still fewer than 20.

Outbreaks linked to K-12 schools statewide are all limited, with the largest one involving 31 students and staff members at an elementary school in Alma. While there are outbreaks at West Michigan schools — including Grant Public Schools, Newaygo Public Schools, both public and private schools in Hudsonville, Rockford Public Schools and others — none involve more than 10 people.

Also Monday, the state released the numbers of newly confirmed coronavirus cases across the state and the number of deaths over the weekend. There were an additional 1,407 cases confirmed over the two days and 15 more deaths reported.

Those figures brought the total number of confirmed cases in Michigan to 128,923 since the virus was first detected in the state in March and the total number of deaths to 6,816.

Three of the additional deaths and 161 of the newest cases were in Wayne County, which has been hit hardest by the virus with 2,831 now dead and a total of 33,442 cases since the outbreak began. Oakland County has had 17,082 cases (152 more since Friday) and 1,158 deaths (no change). Macomb County has had 14,643 cases (163 more) and 983 deaths (no change).

Calhoun County recorded two more cases for a total of 48 and Muskegon County one more for a total of 72. Calhoun County has had 1,446 cases since the start of the outbreak and Muskegon County 1,532 cases.

Noting a surge in cases, Calhoun County said Monday it was asking the state for help in handling the initial investigation into new cases. A state team would start the process then turn it over to the local health department.

The city of Battle Creek said three firefighters and a waste water treatment plant worker had all tested positive for COVID-19 and were recovering at home. The development brought the total number of city employees who had contracted the virus since March to 14.

Kent County confirmed 181 more cases, bringing its total to 9,845 since the start of the outbreak. The number of deaths remained unchanged at 172. Its rate of new cases per million people per day is now above 100, higher than the state’s average.

As a state, Michigan is seeing an increase in cases, though rates vary by region. Upper Peninsula counties, in particular, are seeing a large increase in their rates of new cases per million people per day that caused the governor on Friday to move the entire region back a reopening phase.

The good news is that statewide, hospitalization numbers remain low, as do the numbers of deaths each day.

On Saturday, labs in Michigan tested 29,508 samples and 1,061 came back positive, a rate of 3.6%. On Sunday, 25,188 samples were tested and 867 were positive, a rate of 3.44%. The number of positive tests is not the same as the number of new cases because people may be tested more than once. Additionally, testing numbers are from a single calendar date, while the number of new cases lists the increase since the last time the state compiled the data; these two time frames do not match up precisely.

The seven-day average of daily positive tests is still higher than the 3% public health officials are looking for to show community spread is controlled.

Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders designed to slow the spread of the virus, saying the law on which they were based is unconstitutional. On Monday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a separate epidemic order that restored several key aspects of her mitigation efforts, notably a mask mandate and limits on gatherings.

Whitmer also asked the Supreme Court to delay putting its decision into effect, saying immediate effect would strip people of unemployment benefits.