The Perfect Enemy | Masks advised in 2 Ann Arbor-area counties this week, CDC says -
February 8, 2023

Masks advised in 2 Ann Arbor-area counties this week, CDC says –

Masks advised in 2 Ann Arbor-area counties this week, CDC says  MLive.comView Full Coverage on Google News

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(UPDATE: The story has been updated to note Washtenaw County is disputing the CDC’s designation of being a high-risk county this week.)

Washtenaw and Livingston counties are at a high COVID risk level this week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The neighboring counties in southeast Michigan are the only two in the state at a high COVID-19 Community Level, per CDC calculations. Last week, zero Michigan counties were at a high level.

The CDC uses Community Levels to determine COVID risk, putting counties in one of three buckets: low (green), medium (yellow) or high (orange).

The CDC recommends masking indoors in public while in counties at a high Community Level, regardless of vaccination status. However, people with symptoms, a positive test or exposure to COVID-19 should still wear a mask regardless of the county, the CDC says.

Washtenaw County is telling residents the CDC data is misleading, however. The county recently added a backlog of cases from the past four months into its total, inflating its weekly case rate.

“The CDC system is currently seeing the old cases as new cases,” Washtenaw County’s website says. “We recommend proceeding as though we remained at a medium level this week.”

Here’s the latest map showing the Community Level for each Michigan county. Tap/hover over a county to see details.

(Can’t see the map? Click here.)

This week, Michigan has 64 counties at a low level and 17 at a medium level. Last week, Michigan had 49 counties in the green and 34 in the yellow.

The CDC considers cases and hospitalizations when determining Community Levels. The goal is to prevent severe disease and limit strain on hospitals.

For hospitalizations, the CDC looks at three pieces: the percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID patients, COVID hospital admissions per capita and COVID cases per capita.

A county is at a high level when there are 200-plus new cases per 100,000 for the week and either (A) 10-plus new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 or (B) at least 10% of the staffed inpatient beds are occupied by COVID patients.

If hospitalizations are particularly high, even a county with low cases can be at a high level, per the CDC formula.

(Not every county has a hospital, so each is assigned a health services area, a larger region that contains at least one hospital. Counties are attributed the metrics for the entire area, weighted based on each county’s population. For example: Monroe County’s health services area also includes the Toledo, Ohio area.)

Washtenaw and Livingston counties both inched above 10 hospital admissions per 100,000 this week, in addition to high cases. That’s why they moved into the high category.

Both of the area’s large colleges recently restarted for the winter semester, potentially a contributing factor to the uptick. The University of Michigan restarted classes Jan. 4, while Eastern Michigan University restarted Jan. 9.

Here’s more on the latest COVID-19 trends in Michigan.

Michigan is reporting 718 new, confirmed cases per day in the past week

Michigan averaged 718 confirmed COVID cases per day in the past week, down 34.8% compared to last week.

This is the fewest COVID cases reported in Michigan since April 6, 2022. Michigan has averaged at least 600 cases per day every week since August 2021.

How does this compare to January 2022? Michigan averaged 17,595 cases per day on Jan. 17 last year. That’s 24.5 times more cases than Jan. 17 this year.

While some of that may be attributed to fewer reported tests, other metrics are also way down. Deaths are five times lower, while hospitalizations and percent positivity are both four times lower than this time last year.

In addition to the 718 confirmed cases per day, Michigan also reported 666 “probable” COVID cases per day this week.

Cases are “confirmed” when there’s a positive result from an NAAT/RT-PCR test. Cases are “probable” when there’s a reported antigen (rapid) test or if somebody has symptoms and was exposed to a person with COVID-19.

All graphics in this story except the initial one (which uses CDC case calculations) are based only on “confirmed” numbers.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports COVID cases once per week. The department announced 9,687 confirmed and probable cases this week.

Michigan has reported nearly 2.6 million confirmed COVID cases and nearly 426,000 probable cases since the pandemic began.

The chart below shows the seven-day average for new, confirmed COVID cases throughout the pandemic.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

Michigan ranks 20th in the U.S. in new cases per capita

Michigan had the 20th-most new COVID cases per capita in the U.S. this week, per the New York Times.

States with the highest case rates were Rhode Island, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida and New Jersey.

States with the lowest rates were Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon.

For hospitalizations, Michigan had the 26th-most per capita this week. For deaths, Michigan had the fifth-most per capita.

12 counties saw rise in cases in last seven days

Of Michigan’s 83 counties, 12 saw an increase in cases this week compared to last.

There were large drops among Michigan’s largest counties. Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Genesee, Kalamazoo, Ingham and Saginaw counties all saw case drops of 30% or more in confirmed cases.

As shown earlier in the story, confirmed cases are down dramatically in Michigan this week, although probable cases doubled compared to last week.

See the database below to search/sort case totals by county. The chart also shows the percent change from week to week and the seven-day case average per capita.

(Can’t see the database? Click here.)

0 Michigan counties at highest risk for cases

Michigan had zero counties at the highest risk level (Level E) for cases this week, down from three counties last week. (This is a different metric than the CDC risk levels, as this only takes cases into account.)

The MDHHS has five risk levels for COVID cases:

  • Level A: 7-19 cases per day per million residents
  • Level B: 20-39 cases per day per million
  • Level C: 40-69 cases per day per million
  • Level D: 70-149 cases per day per million
  • Level E: 150+ cases per day per million

Ontonagon and Shiawassee counties were the closest two counties, with 147.4 and 140.6 cases per million residents, respectively.

Counties with the lowest case rates per capita this week were Keweenaw, Presque Isle, Mackinac, Montmorency and Alger counties.

The map below is shaded by the state’s six risk-assessment levels from A to E. This is based on new cases reported per day per million people from Jan. 11 to 17.

The arrows on each county show if new cases this week were up or down compared to the previous week. Put your cursor over a county to see the underlying data. (Hint: Drag the map with your cursor to see the entire U.P.)

(Can’t see the map? Click here.)

COVID case totals don’t tell the whole story. At-home tests are not reported, so those aren’t included in the data. That’s why it’s also key to look at percent positivity of reported tests and data on hospitalizations and deaths.

Average test positivity is 9%

About nine out of every 100 COVID tests reported to the state on Monday, Jan. 16, came back positive.

The percent positivity rate hasn’t been lower than 9% since April 2022. In other words, fewer people getting tested for COVID-19 actually have COVID-19.

The test positivity rate hovered between 9% and 11% in the past week.

The World Health Organization considers there to be a substantial level community transmission when positivity rates are above 5%.

Michigan’s rate peaked at 35% in January 2022. It dipped as low as 2% in early March 2022 before climbing again.

The graph below shows the percentage of COVID-19 tests reported that came back positive throughout the pandemic.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

Positivity rates were highest this week in Kalkaska, Luce, Benzie, Charlevoix and Wexford counties.

Positivity rates were lowest in Alcona, Alger, Montmorency, Lake and Keweenaw counties this week.

To see the COVID test positivity rate for your county, see the searchable table below.

(Can’t see the database? Click here.)

The interactive map below shows the seven-day average testing rate by county. Put your cursor over a county to see details.

(Can’t see the map? Click here.)

Hospitals treating 986 confirmed or suspected adult COVID-19 patients

Adult COVID hospitalizations dropped 11.0% in Michigan this week to their lowest level since November 2022.

There were 986 adults hospitalized with COVID in Michigan as of Wednesday, Jan. 18.

In January 2022, COVID hospitalizations topped 4,000 most weeks.

Among the 986 adults with COVID in hospitals on Wednesday, 107 were in intensive care and 45 were on a ventilator.

Michigan also had 16 children hospitalized with confirmed/suspected COVID as of Wednesday.

Michigan is reporting 21 new COVID deaths per day in the past week

Michigan averaged 21 COVID deaths per day in the past week, up from 19 per day last week.

During omicron’s peak last January, Michigan was averaging more than 100 COVID deaths per day.

Michigan has had 37,269 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 3,916 probable COVID deaths since the pandemic began. Put another way, roughly one in every 269 Michigan residents have died from confirmed COVID.

The chart below shows the seven-day average for COVID deaths throughout the pandemic.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

Vaccinations: 64.0% of residents have received at least one dose

About 64.0% of Michigan residents have gotten at least one COVID shot, 59.3% have received the full original regimen and 36.3% have been boosted.

The omicron-specific COVID-19 booster is available in Michigan from both Pfizer and Moderna. About 15.4% of residents have received this bivalent booster so far.

Below is a breakdown by age group of Michiganders who’ve gotten at least one shot (initiated), those who have two shots (completed) and those who are considered “up to date” on COVID vaccines, as of Wednesday, Jan. 11.

  • 75 and older: 87.4% initiated; 82.6% completed, 34.7% up to date
  • 65 to 74: 90.6% initiated; 86.6% completed, 39.3% up to date
  • 50 to 64: 77.1% initiated; 72.9% completed, 20.7% up to date
  • 40 to 49: 67.9% initiated; 63.1% completed, 12.0% up to date
  • 30 to 39: 66.3% initiated; 60.5% completed, 9.8% up to date
  • 20 to 29: 56.2% initiated; 50.3% completed, 5.8% up to date
  • 16 to 19: 57.1% initiated; 52.3% completed, 5.7% up to date
  • 12 to 15: 50.2% initiated; 46.6% completed, 6.9% up to date
  • 5 to 11: 31.1% initiated; 28.2% completed, 4.4% up to date
  • Younger than 5: 9.3% initiated, 5.1% completed, 2.9% up to date

For more statewide data, visit MLive’s coronavirus data page.

To find a testing site near you, check out the state’s online test find send an email to, or call 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.


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