COVID Update: A month of increases

The number of new COVID-19 infections has been rising steadily for the past four weeks, spurred by the spread of the highly infectious BA.2 subvariant. But it's still much lower than it was in January.

Michigan: The number of new cases of COVID-19 continued its steady climb on Wednesday. The state has now had four straight weeks of rising infection numbers.

State health officials on Wednesday reported 14,482 new cases of the coronavirus over the previous week. That pushed the seven day average up to 2,069 new cases per day. That’s nearly 500 new-cases-per-day more than a week ago and 1,400 new-cases-per-day more than a month ago.

Despite that, hospitalizations have been increasing slowly and deaths have actually continued to decline.

Hospitals in the state reported 634 patients with COVID-19 being treated in Michigan on Wednesday. That’s 102 more than a week ago. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to hospitalization increases at the end of last year.

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The state reported 67 new coronavirus deaths over the past week. That actually drove the seven day average down by nearly two to 9.6 deaths per day. The average has dropped consistently since it reach 46 deaths per day in early March.

The state’s positivity rate has continued to climb, reaching 8.8% during the week ending Tuesday. However, reported positivity rate measurements have become increasingly unreliable due to the increase in the use of at-home tests, which aren’t typically reported to local health departments.

Kalamazoo County: Kalamazoo County has seen similar increases in new infection numbers and positivity rates as the rest of the state. However, deaths and hospitalizations have both decreased in the past week.

Health officials reported 305 new cases of COVID-19 since last Wednesday. That pushed the seven day average up to 43.6 new cases per day. Like the rest of Michigan, new infection numbers have been climbing for most of the past month.

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The county's positivity rate is much higher than it is throughout the state as a whole. In the week ending Tuesday, 12.7% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the county returned positive results. But, as has been stated previously, positivity statistics refer mostly to PCR tests conducted by laboratories and don't include any at-home tests people might do.

There were no new COVID-related deaths reported in the county in the past week.

Finally, while hospitalizations have risen throughout the state as a whole, Kalamazoo County's number actually dropped by more than half. On Monday, the county's two hospitals were caring for 11 people with COVID-19. That's down from 23 people a week earlier.

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