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With testing still low, true spread of delta variant may be unknown

Prasesh Shiwakoti Lomash via Unsplash


Even as COVID cases increase in Michigan, the number of tests being performed each day is still drastically lower than it was in the spring. And some health officials worry that could mean the true case number isn't being fully reported. 

As of August 2, the state’s doing about 14,000 tests per day, on average. Compare that to the 52,000 we were doing in mid-April, right around the last major surge in Michigan. 


“Our testing numbers are just quite low,” said Dr. Jennifer Morse, medical director for District Health Department #10, which covers 10 counties in northern and West Michigan. “So I really do suspect we have more out there that we're just not aware of.”

That’s especially concerning as the delta variant, which is more contagious, spreads in the state. Morse says in her district, more tourists are testing positive as well - but those may only be getting reported to their home states. 

“We do know there are a lot of people coming in as tourists that are positive,” she said at a Munson Health press conference Tuesday.


“We've had many from out of state. So those numbers will not count towards our Michigan numbers. So that can be a little deceiving. So, again, we may have much higher numbers that aren't being counted.”

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Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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