DETROIT – The rising coronavirus numbers have caused the research group “COVID Act Now” to label Michigan at “high risk” for a worsening outbreak. It’s the first time Michigan has been in that category since the end of July.
Health experts said it’s another indicator that the state is starting to lose its tenuous grip on COVID-19. On Saturday the number of new cases was more than 1,000 for the first time since April 17.
A lot has changed since April though. On April 17, the state was reporting the results of just over 6,000 people with 17.76 percent of them testing positive.
On Oct. 9, Michigan tested more than 45,000 people and just over 4 percent tested positive. The World Health Organization said the positivity rate should be at or below 5 percent, so the testing rate meets that mark.
On April 17, 134 Michigan residents died from COVID-19. Deaths in recent months have been much lower, but still steady. About 5 percent of patients have died from their illness. Experts do caution that recent trends in Michigan are concerning.
The Upper Peninsula has multiple counties experiencing active or imminent local outbreaks. COVID Act Now said the rapid increase in new cases, and a growing infection rate, both indicate Michigan as a state is at high risk of a larger outbreak.
Researchers said contact tracing is also falling behind, estimating just 18 percent of Michigan’s new cases are being traced within 48 hours. Far too few to effectively stop the spread.
Experts said Michigan’s ICU capacity is sufficient right now, but the overall trend of rising cases is “very concerning.” Particularly as we head into colder weather and flus eason. Overall, inpatients have nearly doubled in the last three weeks.