Michigan sets new record for daily COVID-19 cases

Michigan added 3,338 new COVID-19 cases and 35 more deaths Saturday, setting a new record for daily cases. 

The additions bring the state’s total number of cases to 158,026 and total deaths to 7,182.

Michigan’s numbers are even higher with probable cases. The state now has 175,612 probable and confirmed cases and 7,522 confirmed and probable deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Saturday’s additions surpassed the single-day record of 2,030 set on Oct. 15.

After the numbers were announced, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged Michiganders to “do the right thing” in a tweet.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a statement Saturday, “If rates continue like this, we risk overwhelming our hospitals and having many more Michiganders die.” 

“The data shows we are continuing to see alarming increases in the incidence of COVID-19 infections in Michigan,” Khaldun said. “It is now more important than ever that people take this seriously. Wear a mask every time you are going to be around someone outside of your own household. Avoid large gatherings and maintain a safe distance from others.

The state said while the data represents the information from reporting labs, it does represent more current trends in disease occurrence. More than 96% of test results reported Saturday originated from tests in the past five days, the department said.

“As information is collected by Michigan’s public health community that better describes cases, we are continuing to see clusters of illness associated with facilities, programs and schools. These cases, along with a large number of community-acquired cases, have been contributing to the elevation in reports of confirmed COVID-19 infection,” Khaldun said.

Last week saw the state’s biggest surge of positive cases during the pandemic when Michigan had 10,241 confirmed cases of the virus. The previous weekly high was 9,768 set April 5 through April 11.

While testing for the virus has increased greatly, Michigan is also seeing upticks in hospitalizations and deaths linked to the virus.

As of Friday, the state reported 1,047 adults hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus, which is three times the number a month earlier. 

Over the first six days of this week, Michigan reported 172 new deaths, it’s the most deaths reported in a week since May 31-June 6, when there were 188 deaths.

At the height of the pandemic, 966 deaths were reported during the week of April 19-25.

“We are now at our peak when it comes to daily new cases,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during her Wednesday COVID-19 response update. “This peak is higher than what we saw in April.”

Whitmer added that cases spiked in the first week of October after the Michigan Supreme Court issued their ruling that the governor violated her constitutional authority by continuing to issue orders to combat COVID-19 without the approval of state lawmakers.

Local health departments are investigating 393 outbreaks, compared to 123 from earlier in the month.

In the last 30 days, there have been nearly 30,000 positive cases in Michigan, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s Chief Medical Executive. With the state’s contract tracing system, officials were able to identify 35,000 more symptomatic individuals who were in contact.

“Top categories for outbreaks remain long-term care facilities, educational settings and social gatherings,” Khaldun said Wednesday. “We’re also seeing many tied to religious gatherings. We now know of 18 new and ongoing outbreaks that local health departments are investigating.”

► More: Whitmer, Khaldun note uptick in COVID outbreaks related to religious services

More: West Michigan lawsuits first to challenge new epidemic orders on masks, gatherings

More than 53,300 tests were completed in Michigan Friday, and of the tests, 50,000 returned negative, giving Michigan a 5.4% positivity rating. 

Long term healthcare facilities continue to face consistent hurdles. As of Tuesday, 9,185 residents have confirmed cases, 2,222 resident deaths. While deaths have slowed over the past two months, there has been an uptick of staff members infected: 5,424 compared to 4,100 in August.

The Michigan health department on Wednesday issued an order allowing indoor visitation by appointment at long-term care facilities if a facility has had no new cases within 14 days and if COVID-19 prevalence in a county in which a facility is located falls within permissible boundaries. 

Under state guidelines, more than 30 counties would still be barred from indoor visitations because of their ranking on the MI Safe Start Map. They include Washtenaw and Kent counties, some mid-Michigan counties and most of the counties in the Upper Peninsula. Visits would be allowed in Metro Detroit but would be required to be tested for COVID-19 beforehand under the new state rules.

Whitmer reminded Michigan masks are required statewide outside of residential areas. 

“Our numbers are climbing. We need to double down on wearing masks and maintain social distancing,” Whitmer said, adding there won’t be an available vaccine in several months. “… We know that more people will get sick, hospitalized and sadly, more people will lose their battle with COVID-19.”

As of Saturday, 109,539 people were considered “recovered.”

Michigan’s schools have recorded 28 new outbreaks as of Monday. Of the outbreaks, 25 were at K-12 schools. See an updated list of school outbreaks online.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_