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County health officials monitor data as climbing COVID-19 cases draw concern in Michigan

State experiencing surge in coronavirus spread

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is sounding the alarm as COVID-19 cases rise rapidly across the state.

Within the last 24 hours, 1,597 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Michigan. The state has now surpassed 150,000 cases since the pandemic hit earlier this year.

Gov. Whitmer addressed the surge in cases during a news conference Wednesday, where she said that Michigan is at a “dangerous moment” regarding coronavirus spread.

“I’m just going to be frank: Our numbers are not good,” Whitmer said Wednesday. “That’s why we are sounding the alarm bell right now. These numbers are moving in the wrong direction. We’re at a dangerous moment where there’s the possibility of it just becoming community spread that becomes out of control.”

As concern grows throughout Michigan, local health departments are zeroing in on two data streams to monitor the severity of the virus spread: hospital capacity levels and the ages of those who are contracting COVID-19.

For example, at the start of the pandemic, the average age of those infected with the virus in Wayne County was mid to late 50s -- now, the average age is hovering around 34 years old.

Local health departments are implying that countywide stay-at-home orders are unlikely. Officials say an order of that magnitude would have to come from the state.

Michigan was shut down for months during the first COVID-19 spike. A stay-at-home order was issued March 23 and stayed in effect through June 1 for most of the state. Closures for certain businesses -- such as hair salons, movie theaters and bars -- lasted much longer.

Whitmer said Wednesday that the numbers reported right now indicate there will likely be more hospitalizations in the coming weeks.

COVID-19 numbers are on the rise throughout the entire U.S. Experts are looking at Wisconsin’s coronavirus numbers in an effort to predict -- and prevent -- a similar pattern in Michigan.


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