4/16/21: Michigan positivity rate 5x higher than February

Hospitalization numbers drop for second day in a row. Kalamazoo reports two deaths. J&J pause extended.

Michigan: Health officials are worried. By most metrics, Michigan is handling the pandemic much worse than it was two months ago.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun told reporters on Wednesday that she is “incredibly concerned” as the state’s positivity rate reached five times higher than it was in mid-February.

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According to state data, in the week ending Wednesday, Michigan was averaging a 15.29% positivity rate. That’s slightly lower than it was a week ago, but it’s still far higher than the 3.4% it was on February 15.

Other metrics are doing worse as well. On Thursday, health officials reported 6,303 new cases of COVID-19. That resulted in a seven day average of 6,789 new cases per day.

Deaths, also, are increasing. The state reported 112 new deaths from the coronavirus on Thursday, with 81 of them coming from a review of previous death records. The average increased to 47 deaths per day over the previous week.

One metric seems to be subsiding. The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has actually gone down for two days in a row. On Thursday, the state reported 4,209 coronavirus hospitalizations. That’s 31 fewer than the previous day and 41 fewer than the day before.

Kalamazoo County: County health officials reported on Thursday that two more people had died from the coronavirus. That pushed the seven day average up to 1.14 deaths per day.

At the same time, the average daily case rate declined slightly on Thursday. The county reported 137 new cases of COVID-19, causing the seven day average to drop by four to 148 new cases per day.

At the same time, hospitalizations in Kalamazoo County are worse than they have ever been.

Bronson Methodist Hospital reported that it was treating 73 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, and that it was operating at 98% capacity. The number of coronavirus patients has been increasing at the hospital pretty consistently for the past month.

Ascension Borgess Hospital reported 34 COVID-19 patients and that it was operating at 93% capacity.

Vaccines: Federal health authorities have extended a recommended pause on the use of COVID-19 vaccines produced by Johnson & Johnson. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration first recommended the pause earlier this week due to rare instances of patients developing blood clots after being vaccinated.

A federal advisory panel met on Wednesday and decided it didn’t have enough data to determine the vaccine’s safety.

The cut in vaccine supplies has hampered the state and county’s abilities to get people vaccinated.

The average daily vaccination rate in Michigan dropped from more than 100,000 doses per day on Monday to just 76,000 per day on Thursday. A similar decline happened in Kalamazoo, where providers were averaging 3,238 shots per day on Tuesday. That dropped by more than a thousand on Thursday.

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