COVID Update: Daily infections double in 2 weeks

The average daily infection numbers have skyrocketed to more than double what they were two weeks ago. Hospitalizations have jumped as well. One Kalamazoo hospital is at 100% capacity.

Michigan: The average daily number of new COVID-19 infections has risen to its highest level ever in Michigan and it’s more than twice what it was just two weeks ago.

State health officials reported 44,524 new cases of the coronavirus between Saturday and Monday. That pushed the seven day average up to 18,760 new cases per day. For context, Michigan reached just over 7,000 cases per day during the previous high point of the pandemic in November 2020.

Officials attribute the unprecedented spike in new infections to the Omicron variant that has been burning through the state since December. One health expert, Nick Gilpin of Beaumont Health, called it a “juggernaut.”

“It is probably one of the most – if not the most – contagious virus that we have seen in the modern era,” he said during a call with reporters last week.

It is causing a rise in hospitalizations as well. As of Monday, a record 5,009 people were being treated for the coronavirus in hospitals in the state. An unusual number of them are children. On Friday, the state reported 135 pediatric COVID patients, the highest number to date.

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So far, COVID-19 deaths have not kept pace. The state reported 56 deaths over the weekend, causing the seven day average to drop slightly to nearly 99 deaths per day. However, deaths have historically been a lagging indicator, meaning we could see death numbers rise to new highs in the next one to two weeks.

The positivity rate is breaking records, passing 33% over the weekend. Of the 450,000 tests conducted in Michigan in the week ending Sunday, 33.19% returned positive results.

Kalamazoo County: Omicron is tearing through Kalamazoo County as well.

Health officials reported more than 41,000 new cases of the virus on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That caused the seven day average to rise to a new high of 538 new cases per day. The previous high, set in April 2021 was just 152 cases per day.

Like the state, the county’s positivity rate has surpassed 30% since last week. In the week ending Sunday, 33.79% of COVID tests conducted in the county returned positive results.

Hospitalization numbers have reached new highs in Kalamazoo. As of Monday, 142 people were being treated for the virus in the county’s two hospitals. One hospital, Ascension Borgess, reported it had reached 100% capacity with a record 52 patients.

The county reported two new deaths from the virus, putting the seven day average at just over one death per day. Like the rest of Michigan, fatalities have not yet kept pace with the staggering number of new infections. Only time will tell of the Omicron wave will prove to be as deadly as previous waves of the pandemic.

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