COVID Update: Infections drop as hospitalizations rise

The daily average of new COVID-19 infections fell last week for the first time since July. At the same time, hospitalizations went up slightly. And new data models suggest Michigan could see a surge of new COVID hospitalizations peaking in October.

Kalamazoo County: It’s been two weeks since NowKalamazoo has reported COVID-19 stats in Kalamazoo County. In that time, the daily average of new infections has declined by about 15%.

Health officials reported 971 new cases of COVID-19 between July 26 and Tuesday. That pushed the daily average down to 69 new cases per day. That’s a decrease from the 81 new cases per day counted during the week ending July 26.

At the same time, death numbers rose slightly. Kalamazoo County officials report that nine people have succumbed to the virus over the past two weeks. That pushed the daily average to 0.6 deaths per day, up from 0.14 deaths per day in the week ending July 26.

Fall Projections: New data modeling from the state's Department of Health and Human Services suggests Michigan could see a wave of new COVID-19 infections this fall, peaking in mid-October.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

The projections actually use hospitalizations as a metric rather than positive COVID tests. That's due to increasingly unreliable new infection measurements, which are being swayed by the widespread use of at-home tests. The models play out four possible scenarios depending on the availability of boosters and the emergence of new COVID variants.

graphs showing data projections of possible hospitalization numbers during the fall
Four data projections from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services show possible waves of hospitalizations during the fall.

The best-case scenario, in which boosters are available for all age groups and no new variant emerges, shows hospitalizations peaking at roughly 2,000 COVID patients in early October. A less optimistic scenario has boosters restricted to older and immune compromised people with a new and unpredictable variant. In that case, hospitalizations could reach as high as 5,000 people in January of 2023.

For comparison, the most recent winter wave of the pandemic saw more than 5,000 hospitalizations at its peak in January. That was followed by more than 100 COVID deaths per day.

Michigan: For the moment, COVID-19 infections have receded slightly statewide.

We won five Michigan Press Association awards, thanks to you!

Click here to see which ones

State health officials reported 16,137 new cases of the coronavirus over the past week. That allowed the average to fall to 2,305 new cases per day.

Deaths were flat, with the state reporting 137 deaths over the past week. That equates to roughly 20 deaths per day.

Hospitalizations continued to rise over the past week, albeit slowly. Hospitals throughout the state reported on Wednesday they were caring for 1,162 people with COVID-19.

The average story costs NowKalamazoo $400 to produce. Donate to fund stories like this.