Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know Feb. 20, 2021

635 new new COVID cases reported Saturday

Michigan COVID-19 data on Feb. 20, 2021 (WDIV)

DETROIT – The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 579,919 as of Saturday, including 15,359 deaths, state officials report.

Saturday’s update includes 635 new cases and 63 additional deaths -- including 57 deaths that were identified during a review of records, meaning they did not occur between Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the state reported a total of 579,284 cases and 15,296 deaths.

The state no longer provides coronavirus data updates on Sundays; the next update is expected Monday afternoon.

New COVID-19 cases have plateaued and deaths are starting to slow. Testing has been steady with more than 40,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate down below 4.0% as of Thursday. Hospitalizations continue to decline over the last several weeks.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 814 on Saturday -- the lowest its been since September. The 7-day death average was 37 on Saturday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.6%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 35,300 on Saturday -- the lowest it’s been since October.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 28 million cases have been reported in the U.S., with more than 496,600 deaths reported from the virus.

Worldwide, more than 110.9 million people have been confirmed infected and more than 2.4 million have died. More than 62 million have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different ways nations count the dead and deliberate under-reporting by some governments.

Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases

Coronavirus headlines:

VIEW: Tracking Michigan COVID-19 vaccine doses 💉

VIEW: Tracking coronavirus cases, outbreaks in Michigan schools

COVID vaccine shipments to Michigan delayed amid severe weather

According to Michigan officials, the CDC says Pfizer vaccines were not shipped out at all on Feb. 15 due to inclement weather. A limited quantity of those vaccines will be shipped out this week.

Moderna COVID vaccine shipments were also affected, with no shipments coming out of the Memphis McKesson distribution center on Feb. 15, 16 or 17 due to the weather. Some Moderna vaccine shipments were also halted last week due to weather conditions.

Officials say the CDC is working with the companies to resume distribution operations as soon as possible.

It is currently unclear if any of Michigan’s Moderna vaccine orders will be shipped to the state on Thursday or Friday, Feb. 18. MDHHS officials say more information will be shared once it is known.

The news comes as several COVID-19 vaccination appointments were rescheduled across Michigan this week due to the severe weather conditions.

Michigan Medicine pauses first-dose COVID vaccine appointments for second week due to low supply

For the second straight week, Michigan Medicine has announced it can only provide COVID-19 vaccine appointments to those receiving their second shot due to a limited vaccine supply.

Only those who received their first dose through Michigan Medicine are able to receive their second dose at the health system’s vaccine clinics.

Those who previously received an invitation to make an appointment for their first dose are reminded that the invitation remains open. Michigan Medicine asks those waiting for their first dose to check back next week to see if new appointments are available.

COVID vaccine first-dose appointments expected to delay due to shortage

Michigan didn’t receive the amount of COVID vaccines expected from the federal government, leading the state to take some of the first-dose allocation and shift it to those already scheduled for their second dose.

The decision means that some people who have a first-dose appointment set for next week may be delayed.

“MDHHS with assistance from MING queried local health departments and hospitals regarding need for second dose vaccines. We are addressing any shortages in second doses in the orders we are placing for shipment next week. About 37,300 doses from the ‘first dose’ allocation will need to be used to ensure complete vaccination for individuals who are due a second dose,” said Lynn Sutfin with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Meijer to launch COVID-19 vaccine clinics at Michigan stores

Meijer is launching a series of COVID-19 vaccination clinics at stores across Michigan this week, with plans to administer up to 25,000 doses in its first week.

Meijer says the vaccines will be administered to Michiganders 65 years and older who have pre-registered through the company’s vaccine registration process.

During the last few weeks, Meijer says it has conducted vaccine clinics in numerous counties throughout the state, administering up to 1,200 vaccines in a single day at some stores. Since its first clinic on Jan. 15, the retailer has administered more than 20,000 doses in Michigan and more than 30,000 doses overall, primarily to seniors 65 and older.

Highly contagious virus variant identified in 3rd Michigan county

Health officials say a confirmed case of a highly contagious COVID-19 variant, known as B117, was reported in Kent County on Sunday, Feb. 7.

As of Feb. 5, a total of 28 known cases of the variant have been identified in Michigan over the last month, but the cases have only been reported in Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

The new case reported on the opposite side of the state Sunday appears to confirm health officials’ belief that more cases of the virus variant likely exist in Michigan, they just have not been identified yet.

Read the full report here.

Michigan’s most important COVID-19 numbers trending in right direction

Health official say Michigan’s most important COVID-19 numbers are once again trending in the right direction.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said Michigan’s case rate is down to 159 cases per million population. That number has been “declining steadily” over the past 24 days.

The Detroit, Traverse City and Upper Peninsula regions all have case rates below 150 cases per million people, according to Khaldun.

Learn more here.

Michigan youth contact sports can resume Monday, Feb. 8

Michigan youth contact sports will be allowed to resume practices and games starting on Monday (Feb. 8), with certain COVID-19 safety rules in place, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

“Today, MDHHS is issuing an epidemic order to allow in-person practice and competitions for sports leagues, starting on Monday, Feb. 8,” Whitmer said. “I know these past months have been tough on all of us, and I know they’ve been really hard on student-athletes who’ve been missing a sense of connection and belonging, as well as many other attributes that playing sports provides.”

Under the previous Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order, basketball, hockey, wrestling, competitive cheer and youth leagues were shut down at least through Feb. 21.

Read more here.

How Michigan restaurants have been handled during COVID pandemic

Restaurants have been the most hotly debated topic of Michigan’s shutdowns throughout the COVID pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have twice shut down indoor dining, with the most recent ban ending Monday (Feb. 1).

Here’s a look at how restaurants have been handled throughout the pandemic.

Michigan restaurants can officially reopen Feb. 1 with curfew, other COVID safety restrictions

Michigan restaurants will officially be allowed to resume indoor dining Feb. 1 with a curfew and other COVID-19 safety restrictions in place.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released its next COVID-19 order Friday. The revised restrictions go into effect Feb. 1 and last three weeks, until Feb. 21.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the order will allow indoor dining at restaurants, concessions at entertainment venues such as casinos, movie theaters and stadiums, personal services requiring mask removal and non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households.

“The pause has worked,” Whitmer said. “The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting Feb. 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place.”

“We are pleased to see the improvements in case rates, hospitalizations and percent positivity that have allowed us to reopen more activities,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “However, we must remain vigilant, especially since we now have a new more easily transmitted variant of this virus present in our state.”

Michigan releases preliminary COVID vaccination timeline for other phases

Michigan has released a preliminary timeline to show a projection of when other phases can expect to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Michigan recently moved into the 1B phase, which includes essential workers like teachers and opens up appointments for residents over the age of 65. Some counties have started vaccinating at this level, while some are still waiting to increase vaccine supply.

The preliminary timeline is fluid. It states very clearly,Dates are estimated and expected to change based on vaccine availability.” And vaccine availability is limited right now -- but it should be improving in the near future.

See the timeline here.

Michigan moving to new phase of COVID vaccinations, including teachers, first responders, residents age 65

Michigan is moving on to a new phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, including teachers, first responders, childcare providers and residents 65 years of age and older.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that the new phase of vaccinations will begin Monday, Jan. 11.

“We are pleased to move the state forward in the next stage of vaccinations,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for MDHHS. “These vaccines are safe and effective, and we especially want our first responders, teachers and older adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The strategy we are announcing today is efficient, effective, and equitable, focusing on making vaccine available to those who have the highest level of risk, whether it is because of where they work or because of their age.”

See the full story here.

Whitmer encourages public schools to reopen for in-person learning by March 1

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is “strongly encouraging” Michigan public schools to reopen for in-person learning by the beginning of March.

Public schools in Michigan were shut down during the fall due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Their buildings have been closed for about two months -- since the state reported thousands of COVID-19 cases per day in November.

“The value of in-person learning for our kids is immeasurable, and we must do everything we can to help them get a great education safely,” Whitmer said. “Over the last 10 months, medical experts and epidemiologists have closely followed the data and have learned that schools can establish a low risk of transmission by ensuring that everyone wears a mask and adopting careful infection prevention protocols.

I strongly encourage districts to provide as much face-to-face learning as possible, and my administration will work closely with them to get it done.”

Read more here.

Michigan COVID-19 daily reported cases since Jan. 15:

  • Jan. 15 -- 2,598 new cases
  • Jan. 16 -- 1,932 new cases
  • Jan. 17 -- 1,421 new cases
  • Jan. 18 -- 1,422 new cases
  • Jan. 19 -- 1,738 new cases
  • Jan. 20 -- 2,031 new cases
  • Jan. 21 -- 2,165 new cases
  • Jan. 22 -- 2,157 new cases
  • Jan. 23 -- 1,601 new cases
  • Jan. 25 -- 3,011 new cases (case count for two days)
  • Jan. 26 -- 1,476 new cases
  • Jan. 27 -- 1,681 new cases
  • Jan. 28 -- 1,872 new cases
  • Jan. 29 -- 1,774 new cases
  • Jan. 30 -- 1,358 new cases
  • Jan. 31 -- 1,033 new cases
  • Feb. 1 -- 1,033 new cases
  • Feb. 2 -- 1,203 new cases
  • Feb. 3 -- 1,383 new cases
  • Feb. 4 -- 1,358 new cases
  • Feb. 5 -- 1,379 new cases
  • Feb. 6 -- 1,018 new cases
  • Feb. 7 -- 884 new cases
  • Feb. 8 -- 885 new cases
  • Feb. 9 -- 563 new cases
  • Feb. 10 -- 915 new cases
  • Feb. 11 -- 1,284 new cases
  • Feb. 12 -- 1,193 new cases
  • Feb. 13 -- 852 new cases
  • Feb. 14 -- 632 new cases
  • Feb. 15 -- 633 new cases
  • Feb. 16 -- 775 new cases
  • Feb. 17 -- 939 new cases
  • Feb. 18 -- 888 new cases
  • Feb. 19 -- 1,193 new cases

Michigan COVID-19 daily reported deaths since Jan. 1:

  • Jan. 15 -- 29 new deaths
  • Jan. 16 -- 103 (90 from vital records)
  • Jan. 17 -- 10 new deaths
  • Jan. 18 -- 10 new deaths
  • Jan. 19 -- 41 new deaths
  • Jan. 20 -- 40 new deaths
  • Jan. 21 -- 148 new deaths (128 from vital records)
  • Jan. 22 -- 17 new deaths
  • Jan. 23 -- 221 new deaths (205 from vital records)
  • Jan. 25 -- 35 new deaths (count for two days)
  • Jan. 26 -- 79 new deaths
  • Jan. 27 -- 6 new deaths
  • Jan. 28 -- 80 new deaths (67 from vital records)
  • Jan. 29 -- 6 new deaths
  • Jan. 30 -- 104 new deaths
  • Jan. 31 -- 4 new deaths
  • Feb. 1 -- 4 new deaths
  • Feb. 2 -- 63 new deaths (36 from vital records)
  • Feb. 3 -- 32 new deaths
  • Feb. 4 -- 74 new deaths (63 from vital records)
  • Feb. 5 -- 19 new deaths
  • Feb. 6 -- 97 new deaths (83 from vital records)
  • Feb. 7 -- 5 new deaths
  • Feb. 8 -- 6 new deaths
  • Feb. 9 -- 60 new deaths (30 from vital records)
  • Feb. 10 -- 12 new deaths
  • Feb. 11 -- 75 new deaths (55 from vital records)
  • Feb. 12 -- 10 new deaths
  • Feb. 13 -- 88 new deaths (84 from vital records)
  • Feb. 14 -- 4 new deaths
  • Feb. 15 -- 4 new deaths
  • Feb. 16 -- 19 new deaths
  • Feb. 17 -- 11 new deaths
  • Feb. 18 -- 85 news deaths (72 from vital records)
  • Feb. 19 -- 23 new deaths

Coronavirus resources:

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About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.