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It's been 3 months since Michigan's first COVID case. Here's where we are now.

Three months after confirming its first case of COVID-19, Michigan's death rate is one of the highest in the nation, even as the number of new cases reported daily has been falling dramatically. 

There are now more than 65,000 probable and confirmed cases, according to the state. Nearly 6,000 Michiganders have died. That puts Michigan eighth in the nation for deaths per capita, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins.


And the burden has fallen disproportionately on black people, who are just 14% of the state's population, but make up 40% of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths. 

Overall, the daily number of new caseshas largely been falling since mid-April, with just 9 new cases reported Tuesday. Hospitalizations are also down, with just 661 people currently admitted, including 250 in the ICU, according to the state’s database.  

At the same time, testing is increasing statewide to about 15,000people per day on average, state officials say. That’s a dramatic increase from where the state started, but it’s still far short of the state’s current goal of 30,000 daily tests to “help identify any new cases and swiftly contain the disease,” Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said last week. 

What’s the difference between “probable” and “confirmed” cases? 

The state health department just started reporting “probable” COVID-19 cases and deaths as of Friday, June 5th. and fall under one or more of the following criteria: 

  • "Having clinical disease AND an epidemiologic link.
  • Having a presumptive lab result AND either clinical disease OR an epidemiologic link.
  • Having a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death without a positive COVID-19 confirmed lab result."

Prior to June 5, the state wasn’t reporting these as COVID-19 cases.


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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