COVID Update: Bump in numbers due to travel?

COVID numbers ticked up slightly since last week. Officials speculate it may be due to spring break travelers.

Michigan: The number of COVID-19 infections rose slightly in some parts of Michigan, leading some officials to suggest the increase is due to spring break travel.

On Wednesday, state health officials released their first coronavirus stats since they decided to cut back reporting to once a week. They reported 3,759 new cases of COVID-19 since last Friday, bumping the seven day average to 774 new cases per day. That’s up from 638 new cases per day on Friday, though the new reporting includes confirmed and probable COVID infections.

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The state’s positivity rate has fluctuated a lot over the past week. In the week ending Tuesday, 4.7% of COVID tests conducted in the state returned positive results. That’s becoming an increasingly imprecise measure of the pandemic as at-home tests grow in popularity. People who use the at-home test kits aren’t required to report results to health departments, which could suggest there are more infections than in official stats. It certainly throws off the state’s positivity calculations. Regardless, the positivity rate has hovered around 5% for much of the past week after dipping to nearly 3% at the end of last month.

Hospitalizations actually increased on Monday for the first time since mid-January. Hospitalizations then dipped down again on Wednesday. That day, the state reported there were 470 people being treated for the coronavirus in hospitals around the state.

Finally, death numbers continued to decline on Wednesday. The state reported 70 new coronavirus deaths since last Friday, knocking the seven day average down by one to 14.7 deaths per day.

Kalamazoo County: New infection numbers declined again in Kalamazoo County over the past five days, though the average per 100,000 people rose a little bit.

Health officials reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 between Friday and Wednesday. That pushed the seven day average down slightly to 19.4 new cases per day. However, the average per 100,000 people rose to 5.4 - up from a low of 4.8 two days prior. Those numbers are likely to increase in the coming days as new cases are reported.

The county's positivity rate has fluctuated about as much as the state's rate over the past few days, though Kalamazoo's rate is higher. In the week ending Tuesday, 6.3% of COVID tests returned positive results. That number has hovered around 6% for the past week after dropping to 4.7% at the end of March.

Hospitalizations continued to decline in Kalamazoo County earlier this week. On Monday, at total of 20 people were being treated for COVID-19 in the county's two hospitals - down more than seven-fold from mid-January.

Meanwhile, officials reported one new death from the coronavirus since Friday. A total of two people have died from the virus in the past week.

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