COVID Update: Skyrocketing Omicron surge

Case numbers have more than doubled in the past week, fueled by the Omicron variant. Hospitalizations, which had been dropping, are heading back up.

Michigan: The numbers of COVID-19 cases in Michigan have shot through the roof since the holidays began, likely due to the Omicron variant dominating the state.

Michigan has counted an average of more than 12,000 new cases of the coronavirus each day over the past week. That’s nearly a 50% increase over the previous high of 8,402 new cases per day set less than a week earlier.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

Most other stats have shot up as well, with the exception of COVID-19 deaths, which are still increasing, just not as rapidly.

The state’s positivity rate jumped to nearly 30% for the seven days ending Sunday. That rate eclipses the previous high and signals the heightened transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

Hospitalizations, which had begun to decline prior to the holidays, are now rising again – and quickly. State health officials counted 4,339 people being treated for COVID-19 in the state’s hospitals on Monday. That’s nearly 400 more than were counted on Dec. 29.

The only number that did not jump up significantly was the COVID-19 death count. State health officials reported 298 deaths from the coronavirus between Dec. 29 and Monday. That caused the seven day average to inch upward to 90.86 deaths per day, which is still very high. If past trends hold true, we will see a sudden increase in COVID deaths in about two weeks.

Kalamazoo County: Most COVID counts surged in Kalamazoo County over the holidays just as they did in the rest of the state. Experts expect that the increase in infections is being fueled by the Omicron variant, which has now been positively identified in the county.

Health officials on Monday confirmed six cases of the Omicron variant within the county lines. However, the county's Medical Director Dr. Richard Nettleton said it is probable there are far more cases in the area.

Between Dec. 29 and Monday, health officials counted 1,324 new cases of COVID-19 in Kalamazoo County. That pushed the seven day average to a staggering 302 new cases per day - almost double what it was just a week prior.

Meanwhile, the county's positivity rate has soared to nearly 30%. In the week ending Sunday, 27.90% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the county returned positive results.

The state hasn't released hospitalization numbers for Kalamazoo County yet, but it is expected that those stats have also risen.

The county has only reported two new deaths from the virus since Dec. 29, putting the seven day average at 1.43 deaths per day. Death numbers have historically been a lagging indicator of pandemic severity so we could see those numbers rise in the next couple of weeks.

Support local. Donate today to Kalamazoo's only locally owned and independent daily news organization.