Michigan again at ‘high risk’ for COVID-19, reports 297 new cases

State reports 66K total cases, 5,975 deaths

Ontonagon County has reported its first COVID-19 case, as the disease is now in all 83 counties | Susan J. Demas

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that 66,173 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5,975 have died from the virus — an additional 297 cases and three deaths since Sunday.

DHHS also notes that an additional 7,096 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 246 probable deaths. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5. Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 73,267 statewide cases and 6,221 deaths.

Michigan has now slipped back into the high-risk category of COVID-19 outbreak risk, according to the data model COVID Act Now.

COVID Act Now, July 6, 2020

New outbreaks across the state have been linked to bars, leading Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to order a shutdown of indoor bar services last week in most of the state until further notice. Videos have also been circulated showing large gatherings of Michiganders in close quarters without masks, including one at Diamond Lake, despite warnings from health experts that they could lead to another spike in cases.

The Fourth of July weekend also saw heavy traffic up to northern Michigan and a packed Mackinac Bridge of visitors crossing into the Upper Peninsula. That region has not been impacted nearly as much as Southeast and West Michigan thus far.

 The state had been just one of three states categorized as “on track to contain COVID” in mid-June, but that progress was reversed over the course of just three weeks as Michigan’s indicator changed from green, to yellow, then to orange.

While Michigan’s positive test rate (2.2%) and intensive care unit (ICU) headroom used (14%) remain low — indicating widespread testing and a case rate unlikely to overwhelm hospitals —  the state’s infection rate has risen to 1.14 and there are not enough contacts being traced to effectively prevent new outbreaks.

An infection rate of 1.14 means that every person carrying the virus is infecting an average of 1.14 other people. The last time Michigan’s infection rate was this high was in early April.

The virus has now been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. Ontonagon County in the western U.P. had been the last county not to report any cases, but now has one case. The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate is at 9%.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10. Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

Johns Hopkins University reports that there are more than 11.4 million confirmed cases worldwide and 535,185 deaths. One-quarter of those are in the United States, where more than 2.8 million confirmed cases and 130,007 deaths have been recorded.