COVID Update: Omicron in retreat

At long last, the Omicron wave seems to be receding. New infections, deaths, and hospitalization numbers are all on the decline. However, in Kalamazoo County, schools have seen their worst week ever.

Michigan: It seems as if Omicron is finally loosening its hold on Michigan. After weeks of soaring infections and hospitalizations, new cases of COVID-19 are on the decline.

State health officials reported 39,372 new cases of the coronavirus between Saturday and Monday. That pushed the seven day average to 15,332 new cases per day – down from 17,589 cases per day less than a week ago.

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Deaths dropped sharply over the weekend as well. The state counted 36 deaths since Friday, pushing the seven day average to 63.77 per day – down from more than 100 per day.

The positivity rate remains stubbornly high. In the week ending Sunday, more than 31% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state returned positive results. At any other time, that would be a staggeringly high number, but it’s less than the 33.4% Michigan was recording mid-month.

Finally, hospitalizations have come down dramatically. As of Monday, 4,252 people were being treated for the coronavirus – again, a remarkably high number, but one that has decreased by almost 1,000 in the past two weeks.

School Outbreaks: While new infections may be on the decline, schools in Kalamazoo County have experienced their worst week ever.

State health officials reported 15 outbreaks of the coronavirus throughout Kalamazoo County, sickening 67 people. Those numbers are likely an undercount – school outbreak reporting is already fairly conservative, but a lack of adequate contact tracing has meant many cases are never reported.

The bulk of the outbreaks were reported in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. More than a third of the schools in the district reported an outbreak. Those are:

  • Kalamazoo Central High
  • King Westwood Elementary
  • Linden Grove Middle
  • Loy Norrix High
  • Northeastern Elementary
  • Northglade Montessori Magnet
  • Parkwood Upjohn Elementary
  • Prairie Ridge Elementary
  • Winchell Elementary

Four outbreaks were counted in the Portage Public Schools: Two at Portage Central High School, and one each at Lake Center Elementary and Angling Road Elementary.

The final two outbreaks were Gull Lake Middle School and at a Galesburg-Augusta basketball game.

There are two ongoing outbreaks in Kalamazoo County as well. One is at Sunset Lake Elementary in Vicksburg; the other at WoodsEdge Learning Center.

Kalamazoo County: While infection numbers may have spiked in Kalamazoo County schools, they've dropped throughout the county as a whole.

Officials reported 894 new cases of COVID-19 between Saturday and Monday. That put the county's seven day average at 403.94 new cases per day - down more than 100 from the peak two weeks ago.

Deaths never hit a pandemic high and have started to subside. Health officials reported two new deaths over the weekend, pushing the seven day average down to 2.2 deaths per day.

Kalamazoo County's positivity rate has dropped to 29.74% - slightly lower than the state's number.

Despite all that, hospitalization numbers haven't declined. On Monday, 140 people were being treated for COVID-19 in the county's two hospitals. That's the second highest total of the pandemic. Nonetheless, both hospitals report that their capacity has increased in the past week. Last Monday, both reported they were above 90% capacity - this Monday, they're down to more manageable levels.

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