Michigan’s COVID metrics continue to improve as state considers more re-engagement

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says case rate, percent positivity, hospitalization rate improving

Dr. Joneigh Khaldunn, the chief medical executive of MDHHS, at a Feb. 24, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan officials are considering re-engaging more of the state in the coming days, and that’s because all three of the key COVID-19 metrics continue to improve.

On Wednesday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, updated the case, positivity and hospitalization rates.

READ: 12 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s Feb. 24 COVID-19 briefing

“We continue, as the governor said, to see positive trends in the key metrics that we are tracking for COVID-19,” Khaldun said.

Michigan’s case rate is at 95 cases per million people -- a number that has been on the decline for six weeks. Wednesday is the first time since the fall peak that the state’s case rate has dropped below 100 cases per million population.

The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive in Michigan is down to 3.5%. That’s down from 3.9% seven days prior.

Right now, 4.9% of available inpatient hospital beds statewide are being used to take care of people with COVID-19, Khaldun said. That percentage continues to decline, and is down from 5.2% seven days prior.

“Our case counts and positivity rates remain among the lowest in the country,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

“While we are pleased with these metrics, I am concerned that our testing numbers are declining across the state,” Khaldun said. “The weekly average across the state last week was about 35,500 tests per days. In November, we saw several days that were above 60,000 tests per day.”

She said testing is still important in the fight against COVID-19 because it’s the only way to track the spread of the virus and slow it down.

“Testing is an important tool for us to be able to reopen critical parts of our society,” Khaldun said.

Michigan officials are also tracking more than 300 cases of the COVID-19 B117 variant across 19 different counties. That variant doesn’t cause more serious illness, but it’s known to spread more easily than the original strain of COVID-19, so it could cause the state’s overall numbers to spike.

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Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.