COVID Update: Positivity rate highest in more than year as new cases soar

Deaths are still half what they were a year ago, but rising. School outbreaks surge again ahead of holiday.

Michigan: The state’s positivity rate hit its highest level in more than a year as the fourth wave of the pandemic surged again.

On Saturday, just under 19% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state returned positive results, indicating that the coronavirus is transmitting faster and more widely than at any point in 2021.

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That fact is borne out by the rising numbers of new infections being reported day after day. Health officials reported 17,008 new cases of the coronavirus between Saturday and Monday. That pushed the seven day average to 7,078 new cases per day. That’s just shy of the same average last year just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hospitalizations are coming close to the levels from last year as well. The state reported that 3,963 people were being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals in the state on Monday. Hospitalization numbers have only been higher during previous peaks of the pandemic.

At the same time, COVID deaths remain lower than during previous waves of the pandemic. The state reported 83 new deaths over the weekend, with 32 of those coming from a review of previous death records. The state is averaging 64.71 deaths per day over the past week – close to the average during the spring surge of the pandemic and about half what it was in December of 2020.

Kalamazoo County: Average infection numbers reached their highest point ever in Kalamazoo County on Friday. That day, the state reported and average of 202 new cases per day over the previous week. That number dropped over the weekend to 173 new cases per day on Monday.

COVID deaths in Kalamazoo County are still far short of where they were during previous waves of the pandemic. Health officials reported one new death over the weekend. That put the seven day average at 0.86 deaths per day - well below the two deaths per day seen in May or the four deaths per day in December of last year.

The good news ends there. Hospitalizations are close to their highest number ever and rising. On Monday, the state reported that 110 people were being treated for COVID-19 in the area's two hospitals. Both reported they were operating below capacity, though they have cancelled or rescheduled some non-emergency procedures to deal with the influx of COVID patients.

Those being hospitalized for COVID-19 continue to be overwhelmingly unvaccinated. A spokesperson for Bronson Healthcare said that only about 19% of its COVID patients had been inoculated against the virus.

Outbreaks: Outbreaks of COVID-19 are surging again in schools ahead of the holiday. In the past week, the state has reported 140 outbreaks at schools in the state - the highest number on record.

Four of those outbreaks are in Kalamazoo County:

  • Alamo Elementary School
  • Amberly Elementary School in Portage
  • Maple Street Middle School in Kalamazoo
  • Schoolcraft Upper Elementary School

Of those, one is also experiencing an ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus. Maple Street Middle School in Kalamazoo had an outbreaks of COVID-19 the previous week.

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