COVID Update: Case numbers dropping fast

Even as case numbers decline throughout the state, infections at area schools continue to be a big problem.

Michigan: The daily average of new COVID-19 infections has dropped by nearly 5,000 a day in the past week.

State health officials reported 21,242 new cases of the coronavirus between Saturday and Monday. That put the seven day average at 10,711 – nearly 5,000 per day fewer than one week ago.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

All measures of the Omicron wave seem to be on the decline. That’s good news as Michigan weathers the worst period of the pandemic so far.

The state’s positivity rate hit 25.26% for the week ending Sunday. That’s the lowest the measure of positive COVID tests has been since the end of December. It’s still higher than any other wave of the pandemic so far.

Hospitalization numbers dropped by more than 600 over the weekend. The state reported on Monday that 3,423 people were being treated for the coronavirus in Michigan hospitals. That’s down more than 1,500 from the all-time high set on Jan. 10.

The average number of deaths ticked upward slightly over the weekend. Health officials reported 65 new deaths between Saturday and Monday. That pushed the seven day average up to 88.14 deaths per day. But the death average has been declining overall for the past two weeks.

Kalamazoo County: County stats largely mirror those at the state level, with hospitalizations and the positivity rate declining from historic highs.

Health officials reported 429 new cases of COVID-19 between Saturday and Monday. That allowed the seven day average to drop to just under 300 new cases per day. That's down from a pandemic high of 538 new cases per day on Jan. 10.

The county positivity rate is coming down as well. The state reported that 27.95% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the county returned positive results during the week ending Sunday - still a remarkably high number, but less than it had been.

Hospitals in Kalamazoo continue to bare the brunt of high infection levels. As of Monday, the county's two hospitals reported they were treating 112 COVID patients. Ascension Borgess said it was operating at 100% capacity on Monday.

And death numbers continued to decline over the weekend. Health officials reported two new deaths since Friday. That pushed the seven day average to 1.86 deaths per day.

Schools: While case numbers are dropping quickly across the state, the schools in Kalamazoo County are riding out a massive rise in new infections.

The state reported five new outbreaks in county schools:

  • Hillside Middle in Kalamazoo
  • Woods Lake Elementary in Kalamazoo
  • 12th Street Elementary in Portage
  • Woodland Elementary in Portage
  • Indian Lake Elementary in Vicksburg

Those are in addition to last week's unprecedented 17 outbreaks in the Kalamazoo area.

But outbreaks notwithstanding, new infections continued to afflict schools in the area. Kalamazoo Public Schools reported 96 new infections last week, while Portage Public Schools reported 112. It has gotten so bad at Parchment School District that the high school has moved to remote classes until at least Wednesday.

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.