COVID Update: Independence Day surge

COVID-19 case numbers went up following the July 4 holiday weekend. But that may not be the only thing leading to more infections.

Kalamazoo County: Just as many expected, a week after the July 4th holiday weekend COVID-19 infection numbers are on the rise.

In Kalamazoo County, 553 people tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week – a 48% increase over the previous week’s total. On average, 79 people fell ill from the virus each day.

Deaths also increased over last week. In the past seven days, four people died from COVID-19. The previous week, officials reported no COVID deaths.

Positivity rates seem to be skyrocketing in the county, though that continues to be an inaccurate statistic due to at-home testing. As of the week ending Monday, 28% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the county returned positive results.

Michigan: Like with Kalamazoo County, the holiday weekend seems to have spurred an increase of COVID-19 infections across the state. However, the holiday may not be the only cause of the increase.

Epidemiologists are watching the transmission of the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron with some alarm. It seems to be spreading quickly and may have a unique ability to reinfect people who have been sick with COVID-19 very recently. It isn't yet dominant in Michigan, but it may become so soon.

State health officials reported 16,681 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week – an increase of 27%. That pushed the average to 2,383 new cases per day.

COVID deaths also rose – from 64 the week before July 4th to 160 the week after. Deaths tend to follow infections by about two weeks, so it's unlikely the holiday weekend contributed to the increase. On average, about 22 people died from the coronavirus each day in Michigan. That's up from just nine deaths per day the week before.

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After declining for nearly two months straight, hospitalizations are on the upswing again. As of Monday, 912 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Michigan hospitals. That's up 75 from last Wednesday.

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