1/6/21: COVID improvements seem to have stalled

COVID measurements in Michigan have hit a plateau. Kalamazoo County infections and deaths are rising again. The positivity rate is moving back up. Vaccinations are moving slowly.

Michigan: After declining for more than a month, COVID-19 infection numbers seem to have stalled out at a still-high rate in Michigan.

State health officials reported 4,326 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. That brought the seven day moving average to 2,942 new cases per day – 15 more than on Tuesday.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

New infection numbers have steadily declined since before Thanksgiving, but the improvements seem to have stopped at a level similar to where the state was at the end of October.

Officials also reported 51 new deaths from the virus, putting the seven day average exactly where it was on Tuesday – 83.57 deaths per day. The daily death average is the lowest it’s been since the end of November, but still high by any measure.

Kalamazoo County: New infection and death numbers have bounced back up in Kalamazoo County over the past two days.

On Wednesday, county health officials reported 127 new cases of the virus. That’s the highest single-day number since the beginning of December. The seven day moving average moved upward as well. The county reported 78.29 new cases per day over the past week.

The county also reported five new deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday. That put the county’s average at 3.71 deaths per day over the previous week. That’s close to the highest it’s been in Kalamazoo since the beginning of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations: The number of people being treated for COVID-19 in Michigan hospitals moved back down on Wednesday. The state reported 2,657 people being hospitalized for the coronavirus on Wednesday. That’s 101 fewer than on Tuesday.

A two-day surge in child COVID hospitalizations has ended as quickly as it began. The state reported 20 children being treated for the coronavirus on Wednesday. That’s a drop from the 64 patients reported on Tuesday.

In Kalamazoo, Bronson Methodist Hospital reported it was treating 40 patients for COVID-19 on Wednesday – eight fewer than the previous day.

Positivity Rates: Both the state and Kalamazoo County have bumped back up above a 10% positivity rate.

The state reported 10.42% of COVID-19 tests administered on Wednesday came back positive. The seven day average is still below that – 9.74% – but the positivity rate has been moving slowly upwards since before the new year.

Kalamazoo County’s positivity rate was a whopping 14% on Wednesday. The county’s average was 10.78% over the past week and has also been increasing since hitting a recent low of 7% on December 23.

Vaccinations: COVID vaccinations are moving slowly in Michigan. That may be behind the state’s decision to move to Phase 1B of its vaccination priority schedule starting next week.

As of Tuesday, 151,716 people in Michigan have received at least the first dose of the COVID vaccine. But the state reported that 665,850 doses of the vaccine had been delivered to facilities throughout the state. That means only about 23% of the available vaccines have been used so far.

In Kalamazoo County, about 30% of available vaccines have made it out to people. As of Wednesday, 6,255 people had received at least the first dose of the vaccine. That’s out of about 20,000 doses of the vaccine that are available at 11 distribution sites throughout the county.

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.