12/23/20: 3,443 new COVID cases, 70 deaths

New infections and deaths decline as the holidays approach. The state and Kalamazoo County dip below 10% positivity.

Michigan: State health officials reported 3,443 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the state’s seven day moving average down to 3,311 new cases per day. It’s the lowest daily average Michigan has seen since November 2.

State health officials are pointing to declining infection rates as a sign that the coronavirus pandemic may be subsiding. They also warn that disregarding social distancing rules on Christmas may cause infection numbers to spike again.

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The state also reported 70 new deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday. That brought the statewide average down to 108 deaths per day over the past week. That number has declined from a week ago, but is still dangerously high.

Kalamazoo County: County health officials reported 37 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday. That’s the lowest new infection total in Kalamazoo in two months. The seven day moving average dropped to 63 new cases per day.

The county also reported no new deaths from the virus on Wednesday, bringing the countywide average to 2.7 deaths per day over the past week. Like the rest of the state, that number is high but declining.

Hospitalizations: COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped for the third straight week in Michigan. The state reported 3,108 people being treated for the coronavirus in Michigan hospitals on Wednesday – 463 fewer than a week ago.

Bronson Methodist Hospital reported 42 COVID-19 patients on Wednesday – the same number as the day before. Kalamazoo’s other hospital does not publicly report patient numbers.

Positivity Rates: State and county positivity rates continue to decline. As of Tuesday, both Michigan and Kalamazoo County had average positivity rates below 10%.

Michigan’s average positivity over the past week was 8.9%. Kalamazoo County has an average positivity rate of 6.7% – close to the 5% state health officials have targeted as the goal to reopen parts of the economy.

Vaccines: More than 37,000 people in Michigan have received their first doses of the new COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday. Still, there are distribution problems that are leading to fewer vaccines making it to Michigan.

On Tuesday, the state received no new doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while it received 64,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Communication errors have led to Michigan obtaining less than half the amount of vaccines this week that is was expecting.

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