6/1/21: Declining COVID rates usher in start of summer

COVID case numbers drop 47% in past week. 16% of 12-15 year olds vaccinated in 2 weeks.

Michigan: COVID-19 infection rates are falling fast, and that’s good news as we move into the summer travel season.

State health officials reported 445 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday. That’s the lowest one-day total in nearly nine months. It’s also the seventh day in a row that new infection numbers have been under 1,000.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

The week average of new infections has plummeted over the past week. It dropped to under 1,000 new cases per day on Wednesday and reached 645 new cases per day on Saturday. It’s the lowest the average has been since September of last year.

COVID-19 deaths are also on the decline. The state reported 49 new deaths on Saturday, with 48 coming from a review of previous death records.

The average dropped to just 32 deaths per day over the previous week. The last time the death average was this low was in early April.

The state’s positivity rate is continuing to fall, reaching just over 4% for the week ending Saturday.

Kalamazoo County: COVID numbers are falling more slowly in Kalamazoo County, but trends are still moving in the right direction.

County health officials reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 between Tuesday and Friday of last week. That caused the seven day average to drop by about third from 29 new cases per day to just under 19.

There were two reported coronavirus deaths over the same time period. That caused the average to go up slightly to 0.29 deaths per day over the previous week.

Kalamazoo's positivity rate actually increased a little over the weekend. In the week ending Saturday, the county reported that 5.6% of COVID tests returned positive results. The county's positivity rate had been declining for most of the previous week.

Vaccines: It's not unexpected, but it's positive news nonetheless: 16% of 12 to 15 year olds were vaccinated in just two weeks.

Twelve to 15 year olds are the most recent age group to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. That came after federal health officials approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in that age group last month.

Despite those gains, vaccination rates are still falling overall throughout the state.

In the week ending Saturday, the state averaged just 36,000 vaccinations per day. That's a far cry from the 65,000 it was doing just a week earlier.

Vaccinations in Kalamazoo County weren't much different. The daily vaccination rate dropped from about 1,700 inoculations per day on May 22 to less than half that a week later.

Part of the decline might be attributable to the Memorial Day holiday.

The average story costs NowKalamazoo $400 to produce. Donate to fund stories like this.