State, area COVID-19 circumstances, hospitalizations continue to trend down

The trend of falling novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations appears to be continuing.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association said for the week of Feb. 14 (last week) the seven-day average of hospitalizations in the US as of Feb. 13 was 80,185, which is down from 136,534 on Jan. 20.

Michigan hospitalizations for confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 included 1,896 adults and 71 children as of Feb. 16, down from the Jan. 20 totals of 4,554 adults and 130 children.

dr Christine Nefcy, chief medical officer with Munson Healthcare, said in a press conference last week inpatient numbers at Munson hospitals have been fluctuating while daily cases declined, ranging anywhere from 82 inpatients to 68 a week ago.

Christine Nefcy

On Monday, Munson Healthcare data revealed a total of 49 patients who tested positive were currently in the hospital, the large majority of whom were in the Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, March 36.

“We’ve really been hovering in the 70s in the past several weeks,” Nefcy said.

The State of Michigan reported far fewer COVID-19 cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 18,308 cases.

That number is down 38.6% from the previous week’s tally of 29,804 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Nefcy said as of last week, the state’s percent positivity was at 15.5%, and the state’s percent positivity average hasn’t been below 20% since December.

“This is really good news as we continue to see that number trend down,” Nefcy said.

Declining cases and hospitalizations comes following the state health department and Health Department of Northwest Michigan’s updating of its mask guidance for public settings, including school settings, to reflect Michigan is entering a post-surge, recovery phase.

The health department’s school-based masking mandate was lifted for school districts in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties at 11:59 pm Thursday, Feb. 17.

“This is welcome news to see this progress and lessening of mask requirements,” said Lisa Peacock, health officer for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “At the same time, we are very supportive of many families and community members who wish to continue to protect themselves and their loved ones by wearing a mask.

“As a society, we need to support their choice and know it may be necessitated due to a compromised person in their household, or the desire to protect a grandparent or a child under the age of five who is not able to be vaccinated.”

According to state data, Emmet County reported 46 cases and two deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 57 cases and three deaths. Throughout the entire pandemic, Emmet County has reported 6,275 cases and 75 deaths.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is reporting 68.7% of eligible residents in its four-county jurisdiction of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties have received at least their initial COVID-19 dose. By comparison, Michigan is at 64.9% of those who’ve received their first dose.

Emmet County is at 75.3% of eligible individuals who’ve received their initial dose, followed by Charlevoix County, 70.8%; Otsego County, 63.2% and Antrim County, 62.9%.

Data from the Health Department of Northwest Michigan is also showing 93.5% of residents in the four-county region age 75 and above have received at least their initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 92% of those age 65-74 have received at at least one dose.

Additionally, 23.1% of those aged 5-11 in the health department’s jurisdiction have received their first dose, while 45.5% of those aged 12-15 have received their initial dose.

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