COVID Update: Six month low

The number of people testing positive for COVID each day has hit the lowest level in six months. Meanwhile, the plummeting rate of hospitalizations is slowing down. And Kalamazoo’s positivity rate took a nosedive.

Michigan: Fewer people are contracting COVID-19 each day in Michigan than were six months ago, marking a new low as the Omicron variant’s grip on the state wanes.

In its latest report, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reported that 5,931 people had tested positive for the coronavirus between Saturday and Wednesday. That pushed the seven day average down to 1,394. The last time the daily average was this low was on Aug. 18. That was before even the Delta variant had tightened its grip on the state.

Other measures of the pandemic are also in decline. The state reported 312 deaths from the coronavirus over the five day period, with 250 coming from a review of death records. That caused the seven day average to drop to 60.6 deaths per day – a number not since since mid-November.

The state’s positivity rate dropped below 10% for the first time since Oct. 2. In the week ending Tuesday, 7.68% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state returned positive results.

Hospitalizations continued to decline on Wednesday, though the decline is slowing. Health officials reported 1,579 people being treated with the coronavirus in hospitals in the state. Hospitalization numbers fell rapidly over the past month – sometimes by hundreds of patients a day. By comparison, the latest report showed a drop of just a few dozen patients each day.

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Kalamazoo County: Kalamazoo’s positivity rate has also fallen dramatically. In the week ending Tuesday, 10.6% of COVID-19 tests conducted in the county returned positive results. Kalamazoo had been lagging the state in the decline of its positivity rate for most of the past month, but those numbers are starting to catch up.

Health officials reported 171 new cases of the virus over the course of the past five days. That drove the seven day average down to 43.9 cases per day. The county was averaging more than 500 cases per day just over a month ago. Now, that average is closer to what it was in early August.

The county reported nine deaths from the coronavirus between Saturday and Wednesday. The seven day average has stubbornly refused to go down. The county was averaging 1.7 deaths per day on Wednesday – a number close to what it’s been for most of the past month.

Finally, hospitalization numbers have declined, but hospitals remain near capacity. A total of 72 people were being treated with COVID-19 in the county’s two hospitals on Monday, the most recent day numbers were reported. That’s down from a peak of 142 patients on Jan. 10. But Bronson Methodist Hospital reported it was operating at 95% capacity, and Ascension Borgess Hospital reported 81% capacity.

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