COVID Update: Is this a surge yet?

New case numbers have jumped 44% over the past week. Most Michigan counties are still designated as low-risk for transmission according to the CDC, but experts say if this isn't a surge, one is on the way.

Michigan: If this isn’t a surge yet, it’s likely to become one. COVID-19 infections in Michigan have been on the rise for six weeks now. And though numbers haven’t shot up like they did toward the end of last year, the increases are substantial.

State health officials report that new infection numbers rose 44% over the past week. They counted 27,705 new cases as of Wednesday. That’s more than 10,000 more that the previous week’s number. The seven day average rose to 3,958 new cases per day – almost double what it was two weeks ago.

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The average number of COVID deaths also increased. It’s the first time that number has gone up in two months. The state reported 76 new deaths from the coronavirus, pushing the seven day average up by two to 10.86 deaths per day.

Health officials say death rates have remained remarkably low despite rising infection rates. There may be several reasons for that. The version of the Omicron variant that is dominant in the U.S. at the moment is notable for being less deadly that previous versions, even as it’s much more contagious. In addition, many people are vaccinated and those who have survived previous waves of the pandemic may have some immunity that renders new infections less devastating.

Regardless of the low death numbers, hospitalizations are still on the rise. Hospitals in Michigan reported they were caring for 903 people with COVID-19 on Wednesday – 166 more than there were last week. State health officials reported that hospitalizations were up 22% in the past week – the third week in a row of similar increases.

Kalamazoo County: All numbers rose in Kalamazoo County in the past week as well.

Health officials reported 532 new cases of the coronavirus since last Wednesday. That pushed the seven day average to 76 new infections per day - an increase of 48%.

Kalamazoo County recorded its first new COVID deaths since April. Health officials reported two new deaths from the coronavirus.

After declining for months, hospitalizations in Kalamazoo County are rising again. On Monday, the county's two hospitals reported they were treating a combined 23 patients with COVID-19. That's after hitting a low of 11 patients two weeks ago. At the same time, both hospitals report they are operating at 94% capacity.

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