11/18/20: Michigan has 5th highest number of COVID deaths in U.S.

WMU breaks 1K COVID infections for the semester. State's average new cases drops slightly. Death rate rises in Kalamazoo. Many hospitals are nearing capacity.

Michigan: State health officials reported 5,772 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. That brings the state’s seven day moving average to 6,932 cases per day. The average is slighly lower than it was yesterday – the first time since mid-October the average declined.

The state also reported 62 new deaths from the coronavirus. The state is averaging 61 deaths per day.

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According to data from Michigan’s Bureau of Epidemiology and Population Health, the state now ranks sixth in the nation for the number of coronavirus cases over the past seven days and fifth for COVID-19 related deaths.

“We have the 10th highest hospitalization rate as percent of total beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and the sixth highest number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU (intensive care units)” in the nation, said Sarah Lyon-Callo, the director of the agency, during a press conference on Wednesday.

Kalamazoo County: County health officials reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county’s average to 145 new cases per day. The county also reported two new deaths from the virus.

WMU: Last week, Western Michigan University surpassed 1,000 cases of COVID-19 since students began returning to classes in August. During the last two days of last week, the university reported 48 new coronavirus infections bringing it to 1,005 total for the semester.

WMU is averaging 21 new cases per day, which is higher than it’s been since early October.

Hospitalizations: Many hospitals in Michigan report they are nearing their capacity to handle patients. As of Monday, nearly a third of hospitals in the state reported they were at more than 80% capacity.

Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo is one of those approaching capacity. They reported 55 COVID-19 patients on Wednesday. State data, which hasn’t been updated since Monday, reports the hosptial at 96% capacity.

As of Wednesday, Michigan hospitals were caring for 3,792 COVID-19 patients. That’s nearly 700 more than the Wednesday before.

Positivity Rate: The state’s average positivity rate dipped slightly on Tuesday. Michigan reported an average 13.4% of COVID-19 tests coming back positive.

Kalamazoo County’s positivity rate also declined slightly. The county is averaging 11.94% positivity as of Tuesday.

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