DETROIT – More than 15,500 people in Michigan have died from COVID-19 since the first two cases of the infectious disease were announced almost a year ago.
On March 10, 2020 Michigan confirmed its first two COVID-19 cases. Those cases included an Oakland County woman and Wayne County man who had both reported traveling at the time.
Fast-forward almost a year later and 596,054 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Michigan as of Saturday, including 15,666 deaths to be exact.
It was only a matter of time before COVID-19 made its way to Michigan. Around this time last year, other states had already reported confirmed cases.
Within a short amount of time it eventually spread to every state and as of Sunday killed 524,668 Americans with more than 28.9 million cases reported in the United States alone, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Worldwide, more than 116.7 million people have been confirmed infected and more than 2.5 million have died.
COVID-19 variant has potential to rapidly increase cases
On March 3, Michigan officials reported a total of 422 confirmed cases of the B117 COVID-19 variant in the state. That number increased from 314 cases that were reported six days prior on Feb. 24.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, recently stated that the variant remains a concern.
“This variant is more easily spread from person to person,” Khaldun said. “If this variant becomes more common, as national experts predict it could, then we could see a very rapid rise in cases and more hospitalizations and deaths.”
A case of the more contagious COVID-19 variant has been identified in Livingston County for the first time, officials reported Saturday.
The Livingston County Health Department on Saturday announced that a resident tested positive for the COVID-19 variant, which experts say is 50 percent more transmissible than the dominant virus strain in the United States.
Where Michigan stands on vaccine distribution
As the pandemic continues Michigan like many other parts of the country struggles with vaccine shortages and distribution crucial to ending the pandemic.
In Michigan, as of March more than 2.3 million vaccines have been administered, the state announced recently.
Still, that is not enough and some of the most vulnerable populations in the state struggle to get vaccinated.
Cases trending downward, deaths beginning to slow
Saturday’s update includes a total of 1,289 new cases and 56 additional deaths -- including 48 deaths that were identified during a review of records, meaning they did not occur between Friday and Saturday.
The state reported a total of 549,881 recoveries from the virus on Saturday.
Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know March 7, 2021
Michigan no longer provides coronavirus data updates on Sundays. The next update is expected Monday afternoon.
Testing has slowed in the last week, dropping to about 35,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate down below 4.0% as of Friday. Hospitalizations have plateaued over the last two weeks.
Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,210 on Saturday -- which is up slightly from last week. The 7-day death average was 27 on Saturday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.6%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 30,500 on Saturday.
Economy slowly reopening
Tuesday’s announcement that Michigan restaurants are able to increase their indoor dining capacity as good news for businesses that have now had to deal with two shutdowns since the pandemic started.
On Tuesday, Whitmer announced that restaurants and bars can operate at 50 percent capacity. That is up from 25 percent. The new changes started to take place Friday. Restaurants will also have a 11 p.m. curfew.