Morning Briefing April 23, 2021: Michigan sees sharp increase in children hospitalized with COVID-19 this year

Child wearing mask (August de Richelieu/Pexels stock image)

Pediatric COVID hospitalizations increase

Pediatric COVID-19 hospitalization rates increased 311% between Feb. 19 and April 20, 2021 in Michigan.

That’s according to data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA). The data shows that the number of children hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms hit a high of 70 this week.

That number is twice as many as were hospitalized during the last surge in November 2020. As of Thursday, April 22, the number of hospitalized pediatric patients in Michigan confirmed to have COVID-19 was 52, a slight decrease, per the state’s data.

Michigan has been dealing with the B.1.1.7 (U.K) variant of the virus. Public health officials are trying to understand how the variant is linked to the increase in pediatric hospitalizations in the state.

“We should definitely be worried about it,” said Dr. Kengo Inagaki, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, in an interview with NBC. “We still have to be careful. We have to adhere to distancing and wearing masks and avoiding gatherings because that’s the best way of preventing COVID, regardless of the strain.”

Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) expanded mask requirements to include children ages 2-4 years old. The order runs through May 24.

Read more here.

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Coronavirus in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 809,591 as of Thursday, including 17,139 deaths, state officials report.

Thursday’s update includes a total of 4,867 new cases and 108 additional deaths, of which 75 deaths are from a vital records review. On Wednesday, the state reported 804,724 total cases and 17,031 deaths.

Testing has been steady around 35,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate above 13% as of Tuesday, lower than one week ago. Hospitalizations have increased over the last several weeks, now at the highest point of the pandemic.

MORE: Michigan extends COVID rules for gatherings, masks, restaurants, entertainment venues

Michigan continues to lead the nation in new COVID-19 cases. The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 5,744 on Wednesday -- the highest since December, but lower than two weeks ago. The 7-day death average was 56 on Wednesday, slightly higher than the last two weeks. The state’s fatality rate is 2.1%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 184,000 on Wednesday. More than 603,000 have recovered in Michigan.

Michigan has reported more than 6.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Thursday, with 46% of residents having received at least one dose.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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