As Michigan’s COVID numbers improve, Gov. Whitmer warns success is ‘fragile’

Positivity rate down to 4.5% in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a Feb. 9, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan officials once again reported promising movement for the state’s COVID-19 numbers, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned that the success is “fragile.”

During Tuesday’s briefing, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, revealed improvements in the state’s case rate, percent positivity and hospitalization numbers.

READ: 7 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s COVID briefing on Tuesday

Michigan is down to 144 cases of COVID-19 per million people per day. Only 4.5% of COVID-19 tests are coming back positive, and the percentage of beds currently occupied by patients with the virus is down to 6%, according to Khaldun.

After the briefing ended, Michigan announced 563 daily COVID-19 cases. That’s the lowest total since Sept. 22 and the first time the state has announced fewer than 1,000 cases since Oct. 6.

But with 45 cases of the B117 variant now confirmed in 10 different counties across the state and other variants popping up around the world, Whitmer preached caution.

“Just as it has been these past 11 months, our success at this point is fragile,” Whitmer said. “That’s the nature of this virus.”

At one point, Michigan was reporting more than 9,000 COVID-19 cases per day. The case rate is steadily declining and is down 81% from the mid-November peak. But both Whitmer and Khaldun said the fight isn’t over.

“We know how to slow the spread, and it’s the same thing Michiganders have been doing so well for the past year to slow the spread of the virus and bring our curve down last spring and in the fall,” Khaldun said.

Whitmer said concerns about the variants creating another spike have sparked an even greater sense of urgency to get Michiganders vaccinated. The state wants to get 50,000 shots in arms per day.

“We’ve hit that number a few times,” Whitmer said. “We are capable of this, and more.”

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