COVID Update: COVID plateau continues

COVID rates are flat. So are deaths and hospitalizations. Is this the NEW new normal?

Kalamazoo County: State health officials say that COVID-19 rates in Michigan have plateaued. That certainly seems to be the case in Kalamazoo County.

Health officials reported 455 new cases of the coronavirus in the past week. That puts the average at 65 new cases per day – just two shy of what it was the week before.

Deaths have similarly leveled off. Officials reported four deaths in the past week. That’s the same number as was reported the week before, though the earlier number included reclassified deaths from over the summer.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put Kalamazoo County into its lowest risk level category. As of Thursday, hospitalization rates were low enough to cause the CDC to reduce the county’s risk level. Much of the state is either at Medium or High risk, according the MI Safe Start Map. All of Southwest Michigan is considered Low risk.

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Michigan: State health officials last week revised COVID projections for the fall. Running four possible scenarios, epidemiologists are expecting either a small surge in new infections or no surge at all. In two scenarios, a new variant of the coronavirus takes off and drives infections up in the winter. The other two scenarios assume no new variant and show new infection rates remaining close to where they've been the past few weeks.

charts showing COVID infection models through the fall
State modeling data shows COVID-19 infection rates either remaining flat or surging slightly during the winter.

In any case, infection numbers seem to have leveled off since midsummer. Health officials reported 16,901 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week putting the average at 2,414 new cases per day. That's just a couple hundred short of the previous week's report.

The state reported 147 new deaths from the coronavirus since last Tuesday. That equates to 21 deaths per day over the past week. That's down from the previous week, though the earlier number included many COVID deaths discovered from the summer months.

Hospitalizations are one of the primary ways epidemiologists are measuring the severity of the current pandemic status. That's because at-home testing has made determining the spread of the virus all but impossible. Hospitals in Michigan reported they were treating 1,174 people with COVID-19 infections on Monday. That's 47 less than a week ago, but very close to numbers seen each week since early August.

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