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Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know Dec. 15, 2020

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 437,985 as of Monday, including 10,752 deaths, state officials report.

Monday’s update includes 7,205 new cases and 90 additional deaths over the past two days. On Saturday, the state reported a total of 430,780 confirmed cases and 10,662 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases are slowing but deaths continue to rise in Michigan. Testing has remained steady, with more than 45,000 diagnostic tests reported per day, with the positive rate decreasing to near 11% over the last wee. Hospitalizations have increased steadily for the last five weeks, including upticks in critical care and ventilator use.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 5,106 on Sunday, lower than one week ago. The 7-day death average was 125, the highest since April. The state’s fatality rate is 2.5%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 183,700 on Sunday. More than 236,000 have recovered in Michigan.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 6.2 million have recovered in the U.S., with more than 16.2 million cases reported across the country. Nearly 300,000 have died in the U.S.

Worldwide, more than 72.4 million people have been confirmed infected and more than 1.6 million have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different ways nations count the dead and deliberate under-reporting by some governments.

Coronavirus headlines:

VIEW: Tracking Michigan COVID-19 testing data

VIEW: Tracking coronavirus cases, outbreaks in Michigan schools

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Michigan health officials plan for COVID-19 vaccine

With the announcement of the Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory panel recommending the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine needs granted an emergency use authorization, Michigan is developing a distribution plan once the vaccine is authorized.

Initially, five Michigan hospitals would be the first to get the vaccine, according to the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

The hospitals are Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Ascension Macomb-Oakland in Warren, University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids and MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland.

Read more here.

3 takeaways from Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s COVID briefing

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a COVID-19 news briefing on Thursday afternoon.

Whitmer was joined by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

Here were some of the main takeaways from the briefing.

Michigan extends COVID-19 restrictions for 12 days to gauge Thanksgiving impact

Michigan health officials announced an extension of COVID-19 restrictions in the state as deaths continue to rise and the state’s test positivity rate remains high.

Gov. Whitmer said MDHHS will extend the three-week pause for 12 days. MDHHS said the additional 12 days will allow the department to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan.

More details from MDHHS:

  • Under today’s order, MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings, and only two households may gather inside, with strict protocols recommended.
  • Individuals should wear masks consistently whenever they are inside with individuals not in their household, and are recommended to pick only a small group to see regularly.
  • Bars and restaurants must remain closed for dine-in service, but can remain open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. Gyms are open for individual exercise with mandatory masking and additional strict safety measures. Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes remain closed.
  • Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators.
  • Colleges, universities and high schools will continue with remote learning, with no in-person classes.

COVID-19 now leading cause of death in US topping heart disease, researchers say

COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States topping heart disease, according to The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

IHME says COVID-19 was the cause of nearly 12,000 deaths last week, putting it ahead of ischemic heart disease and lung cancer. Health officials warn the pandemic will likely get worse. However, there is some hope on the horizon.

Read more here.

Whitmer urges residents not to travel for holidays but ‘great hope is on the horizon’

Michigan is currently in the latter third of a three-week “pause” that shut down indoor dining at restaurants, in-person classes for colleges and high schools, and much more.

As COVID-19 cases remain high, people are wondering if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will extend the “pause.”

Whitmer said she’s working with Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and other health experts to examine options.

In a press conference Thursday, Whitmer said she is concerned about the amount of Thanksgiving travel and how likely that would impact Michigan hospitals.

“So we really are encouraging people not to travel for Christmas and start figuring out how to use Zoom to stay close,” Whitmer said.

Read more here.

Bed capacity dwindling at some Michigan hospitals amid COVID surge

Several Michigan hospitals, including some in Metro Detroit, are seeing more and more beds filled as COVID-19 continues to surge in the state.

Here’s a look at some bed occupancy percentages at hospitals in Southeast Michigan as of Nov. 30: (The percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by any patient regardless of COVID-19 status. This includes surge or overflow beds.) View here.

Much of US experiencing ‘severe’ virus outbreaks amid ‘third COVID wave,’ researchers say

Since the summertime, we’ve been following data from Covid Act Now, a group of technologists, epidemiologists, health experts and public policy leaders that monitors and identifies each state’s risk level for a COVID-19 outbreak. For months, the group had only four risk level categories: “low,” “medium,” “high” and “critical.” As of Saturday, however, the group has included a new, fifth risk level: “severe.”

The map of color-coded states in “America’s COVID Warning System,” as the group calls it, is doing just that with its daunting red hues: warning Americans that the entire country has reached a critical moment with the virus. Covid Act Now has even labeled this virus surge as the country’s “third wave” of the coronavirus.

As of Saturday, 20 states — primarily those in the midwest — are colored maroon, meaning they are identified as experiencing a “severe outbreak” of COVID-19. Most of the remaining states — 27, to be exact — are labeled red, meaning they are experiencing “an active or imminent outbreak,” according to the data.

Michigan is currently labeled as experiencing an active or imminent outbreak, which is considered the critical level.

Read more here.

Michigan’s ‘3-week pause’ COVID restrictions in effect

Michigan is entering a three-week “pause” to several activities in an effort to help stop a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Under new restrictions issued Sunday evening by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), here’s what will be closed starting Wednesday, Nov. 18 until Dec. 8 in Michigan.

Note: The map in the article shows the entire state of Michigan under what MDHHS calls risk “Level E” — read that here.

What’s closed starting Wednesday, Nov. 18:

  • High schools (in-person learning)
  • Theaters, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas,
  • Colleges and universities (in-person learning)
  • Bowling centers, ice skating rinks, indoor water parks
  • Work, when it can be done from home
  • Bingo halls, casinos, arcades
  • Dine-in restaurants and bars (indoor dining)
  • Group fitness classes
  • Personal services (salon, spa) that involve mask removal*
  • Organized sports, except professional sports and certain NCAA sports (Big Ten football, for example)

*For more information, view the MDHHS’ official Gatherings and Face Mask emergency order, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 18, right here.

What remains open during this three-week period:

  • Indoor gatherings are still allowed but only between two households and with no more than 10 people.
  • Small outdoor gatherings (25 people)
  • Retail
  • Preschool through 8th grade (local district choice)
  • Childcare
  • Manufacturing, construction, other that is impossible to do remotely
  • Public transit
  • Hair salons, barber shops, other personal services (Per the MDHHS order — Section 4.e.: In facilities offering non-essential personal care services, including hair, nail, tanning, massage, traditional spa, tattoo, body art, and piercing services, and similar personal care services, gatherings are only permitted to the extent that services do not involve the removal of face masks. All services must be provided by appointment, and gatherings in waiting areas are prohibited.)
  • Gyms and pools (for individual exercise only)
  • Restaurants and bars (for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery only)
  • Professional sports (without spectators)
  • Parks and outdoor recreation
  • Funerals (25 people)
  • Health care

Michigan rolls out coronavirus exposure app statewide: How it works, how to download

Michigan is expanding its COVID-19 exposure app for residents to use statewide after a successful pilot program in October.

The anonymous, no cost and voluntary app, piloted in Ingham County and on the campus of Michigan State University last month, lets users know whether they may have recently been exposed to COVID-19. Users can confidentially submit a positive test result into the app and alert others in recent proximity that they may have also been exposed to the virus.

Read about it here.

Michigan COVID-19 daily reported cases since Dec. 1:

  • Dec. 1 — 5,793 new cases
  • Dec. 2 — 6,955 new cases
  • Dec. 3 — 7,146 new cases
  • Dec. 4 — 8,689 new cases
  • Dec. 5 — 6,004 new cases
  • Dec. 6 — 4,675 new cases
  • Dec. 7 — 4,675 new cases
  • Dec. 8 — 5,909 new cases
  • Dec. 9 — 4,905 new cases
  • Dec. 10 — 5,937 new cases
  • Dec. 11 — 5,157 new cases
  • Dec. 12 — 4,486 new cases
  • Dec. 13 — 3,602 new cases
  • Dec. 14 — 3,603 new cases

Michigan COVID-19 daily reported deaths since Dec. 1:

  • Dec. 1 — 190 new deaths (30 from vital records)
  • Dec. 2 — 81 new deaths
  • Dec. 3 — 175 new deaths (112 from vital records)
  • Dec. 4 — 81 new deaths
  • Dec. 5 — 193 new deaths (145 from vital records)
  • Dec. 6 — 46 new deaths
  • Dec. 7 — 47 new deaths
  • Dec. 8 — 191 new deaths
  • Dec. 9 — 75 new deaths
  • Dec. 10 — 182 new deaths (132 from vital records)
  • Dec. 11 — 61 new deaths
  • Dec. 12 — 206 new deaths (176 from vital records)
  • Dec. 13 — 45 new deaths
  • Dec. 14 — 45 new deaths

Coronavirus resources:

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