5/20/21: Though COVID rates are going down, Michigan still has the highest numbers in the nation.

Confirmed variants pass 10K. Hospitalizations decline for one month straight.

Michigan: Michigan is still the worst in the nation on several measurements of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the weekly COVID-19 update from the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), even with declining rates of infection, Michigan is first or near first in a few different metrics.

State health officials reported 1,560 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, pushing the seven day average down to 1,453 new cases per day. However, as of last week Michigan still had the highest case rate in the country.

The state reported 31 new deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday. That actually caused the seven day average to bump up slightly to 55 deaths per day. Michigan is third in the nation for the total number of deaths last week and first for death rate.

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Hospitalizations declined on Wednesday, dropping by nearly 100 people to 1,708. The total number of people being treated in hospitals for COVID-19 has now been declining steadily for a month straight. Despite that, Michigan has the highest inpatient bed utilization in the country.

On the bright side, the state’s positivity rate is getting nearer to 5%. In the week ending Tuesday, 6.15% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state returned positive results.

Kalamazoo County: The county is also continuing to see a decline in infections and deaths.

County health officials issued a correction to coronavirus death data posted Tuesday. That resulted in one fewer death being counted. That caused the seven day average to drop back down to 1.29 deaths per day.

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Officials reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. That caused the seven day average to fall just slightly to 39.4 new cases per day.

The county’s positivity rate slid a little on Tuesday. In the prior week, 7.3% of COVID-19 tests returned positive results.

Variants: The number of coronavirus variants continues to rise in the state.

In its weekly update, the MDHHS reported that there are now more than 10,000 confirmed cases of several “variants of interest” in Michigan.

Chief among them is the so-called UK variant – B.1.1.7 – that has drawn headlines for months due to its ability to spread more readily. Officials reported 9,590 confirmed cases in the state.

Health experts are also watching the numbers for variants from South Africa, Brazil, and California.

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