1/19/21: New infections stable as vaccination push gets underway

Kalamazoo County's new infection rate continues to decline as deaths go up. Hospitalizations are still going down - slowly. The state hopes for a dramatic increase in vaccinations this week.

Michigan: The daily number of new cases of COVID-19 in Michigan has stagnated. While the average number is still going down, it’s doing so very slowly, leading some health experts to worry about the effects of the coronavirus going forward.

State health officials reported 1,738 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That brought the state’s seven day moving average down slightly to 2,072 new cases per day. That’s just 36 fewer than the day before and signals that the virus isn’t going away anytime soon.

On the bright side, deaths from the coronavirus are continuing to decline. On Tuesday, the state reported 41 deaths, bringing the the average down to 52 deaths per day over the previous week. That’s the lowest it’s been since mid-November.

Hospitalizations are also declining – albeit slowly. The state reported 2,055 coronavirus patients in hospitals in the state on Tuesday – 85 fewer than the day before.

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The state’s average positivity rate is also continuing to decline. For the week ending Monday, an average of 6.57% of all COVID-19 tests in Michigan came back positive. That’s still higher than the 5% state officials targeted as a criteria for reopening the economy, but it’s far lower than the 14% it was in early December.

Kalamazoo County: New infection numbers continued to decline in Kalamazoo County as deaths rose again.

On Tuesday, county health officials reported 181 new cases of the coronavirus over the course of the weekend. That number included Monday, a federal holiday. That brought the county’s average down to 50 new cases per day over the past week.

Meanwhile, 11 new deaths since Saturday have brought the county’s average daily death numbers up again. On Friday, the county was averaging less than one death per day. That number jumped to two deaths per day on Tuesday.

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Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been lower than recent weeks in Kalamazoo County. Bronson Methodist Hospital reported 29 coronavirus patients on Tuesday. That was one more than on Monday when they indicated they were operating at 89% capacity. Kalamazoo’s other hospital doesn’t publicly report patient numbers.

Kalamazoo’s positivity rate is also on the downslope. On Monday, about 7% of the COVID-19 tests conducted in the county in the previous week came back positive. That’s down from 11% just a week-and-a-half ago.

Vaccinations: State officials are hoping to see a whole lot more people being vaccinated against the coronavirus over the next week. The same is true of Kalamazoo health officials.

As of Tuesday, facilities in Michigan have received almost 1.1 million doses of one or the other COVID-19 vaccine. While less than half of those have been administered so far, officials are pushing to get more doses into arms more quickly than they have been.

Kalamazoo County has nearly 18,000 doses of the vaccine on-hand as of Monday. The county’s health department is making a major push this week to get more residents age 65 and older vaccinated.

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