12/23/20: 9,643 new cases of COVID Friday and Saturday, 267 deaths

New infections drop as deaths continue to rise in Michigan. Same holds true for Kalamazoo County. The state and local positivity rates are also declining.

Michigan: State health officials reported 5,157 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and another 4,486 on Saturday. The duo of numbers mark a continued decline of new infections from a high of 9,779 three weeks ago shortly after the health department issued new COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

Despite the decline, the state is still averaging 5,106 new cases of the coronavirus per day, which is several thousand more than at any point during the peak of the pandemic in April.

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At the same time, deaths continue to rise. The state reported 61 new deaths from the virus on Friday and 206 on Saturday. Saturday’s number is the second highest single day death toll on record, beaten only by the 232 deaths counted on April 21.

On Saturday, 176 of the deaths came as a result of a review of previous death records. The state is averaging 115 deaths per day.

Kalamazoo County: County COVID-19 numbers reflect the trends on the state level. County officials reported 87 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday and four new deaths.

New case counts continue to decline in Kalamazoo. The county is averaging nearly 92 new infections per day. Meanwhile, deaths remain high with an average of 2.6 deaths per day in the county.

Positivity Rates: The rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 is declining both statewide and in Kalamazoo County.

On Saturday, just under 10% of the more than 56,000 tests conducted in Michigan came back positive for the coronavirus. That’s significantly less than the 12% to 16% numbers that have been reported regularly over the past month.

Kalamazoo County had an average positivity rate of 9.8% on Friday. The positivity rate has been declining steadily from a high of 12.9% on November 30.

The positivity rate is an important metric because it indicates the level of community spread of the coronavirus. The state and county positivity rates are still high by all accounts, but suggest the prevalence of the virus is decreasing, likely due to more people taking greater precautions to avoid spreading the disease.

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