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Delta has largely spared Michigan so far, but COVID cases are climbing again

3D rendering of coronavirus
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The Delta variant of COVID-19 hasn’t wreaked the havoc in Michigan that it has in some other states so far, but there are strong signs the variant is pushing up COVID cases in the state once again.

At this time last month, Michigan was averaging about 450 new COVID-19 cases a day. Now, it’s at least three times that. The state added over 1300 new cases on Monday and Tuesday.

The test positivity rate is climbing too. It now stands at 8.8% statewide, and is substantially higher in some counties with low vaccination rates.

Doctor Adnan Munkarah, chief clinical officer of Henry Ford Health System, said that’s very similar to what the hospital has seen—from a 3.4% percent positivity rate last month, to more than 9% now. “So a tripling of the positivity rate among people who are testing,” he said.

Munkarah says more than 100 adults with confirmed or probable COVID-19 are in Henry Ford hospitals now. Around 80% of them are unvaccinated. The remaining 20% are almost exclusively immune-compromised, or the “frail elderly,” according to hospital officials. They said that’s a sign vaccines are holding up fairly well against Delta—but urged people who are immune-compromised or medically fragile to seek a third booster shot.

Munkarah said they’re concerned about children heading back into schools in this context, especially in places without mask mandates.

“Of course we are concerned,” he said. “We are already seeing children who are testing positive. We are seeing that there are hospitals around the nation that are filling up with pediatric patients because of COVID. So COVID is not sparing children at the present time.”

On Wednesday, state epidemiologist Sarah Lyon-Callogave a presentation projecting that 400 children could be hospitalized and up to 6,000 residents could die between now and November if current COVID-19 trends continue.

Editor's note: Henry Ford Health System is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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