CDC recommends masks for 14 Michigan counties, raising from 8 last week

Michigan has 14 counties at a high COVID-19 Community Level this week according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 while indoors in public when counties are at a high Community Level, regardless of vaccination status. However, people with symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask regardless of where they live, the CDC says.

The 14 counties at a high level this week are: Calhoun, Clare, Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Iron, Lapeer, Macomb, Midland, Schoolcraft, Shiawassee and Washtenaw counties.

Michigan has 34 counties at a medium level and 35 counties at a low COVID-19 Community Level this week.

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

(Can’t see the map? Click here.)

The CDC considers cases and hospitalizations when determining COVID risk for an area. The goal is to prevent severe disease and limit strain on hospitals.

For Community Levels, the CDC looks at three factors for each county: 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 or more new cases per 100,000 in the past week and either (a) 10-plus new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 or (b) when 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 one is assigned a health services area, a geographic region that contains at least one hospital. Counties are attributed the metrics calculated for the entire area, weighted based on each county’s population.)

Here’s more on the state of COVID-19 in Michigan.

Michigan is reporting 2,086 new, confirmed cases per day in the past week

Reported COVID cases are up 16.0% from last week, as the state had 2,086 new, confirmed cases this week.

Michigan has hovered around the 2,000-case-per-day mark for most of the summer.

Michigan also reported 539 “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 18,375 confirmed and probable cases this week.

Michigan has reported 2.4 million confirmed COVID cases and nearly 378,000 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 8th in the U.S. in new cases per capita

Michigan’s COVID rate was the eighth highest in the U.S. in the past week, according to the New York Times.

Michigan had fewer COVID cases than last week, but managed to move up the list for highest COVID rate because 46 of the 50 states saw their rate decline in the past week.

West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alaska, North Carolina and Ohio had the most COVID cases per capita this week. Nevada, California, Washington, Utah, Montana and Wyoming had the lowest COVID rates.

For COVID hospitalizations, Michigan ranked 14th of 50 this week. The state also had the fourth-most COVID deaths per capita this week.

42 counties saw rise in cases in last seven days

Of Michigan’s 83 counties, 42 had more cases this week than last week.

Many of Michigan’s larger counties had big increases in cases. Ingham County was up 39% compared to last week, Kalamazoo County increased 34%, Wayne County jumped 32%, Oakland County was up 23%, Washtenaw County jumped 20%, Macomb County increased by 19% and Kent County rose 8%.

See the database below to search by county and sort by most/fewest cases. 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.)

37 Michigan counties at highest risk for cases

There are 37 counties at the highest risk level (Level E) for cases, down from 43 counties last week.

The MDHHS has five risk levels for COVID cases:

  • Level A: 7-19 cases per day per million
  • 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

The counties with the highest COVID rates in Michigan this week were Iron, Dickinson, Washtenaw, Midland, Schoolcraft and Ingham counties.

The lowest COVID rates were in Alcona, Huron, Presque Isle, Leelanau, Antrim and Cheboygan 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 Sept. 7-13.

The arrows on each county show if new cases this week are 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 18%

About 18 of every 100 COVID tests reported to the state on Monday, Sept. 12, came back positive.

The positivity rate has hovered between 18% and 19% 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. It dipped as low as 2% in early March 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.)

Eaton County had the highest positivity rate of all Michigan counties this week, at 30.5%. Baraga, Keweenaw and Lake counties all had a positivity rate less than 5%.

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 1,145 confirmed or suspected adult COVID-19 patients

Michigan had 1,145 adults in hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID as of Wednesday, Sept. 14. That’s down slightly from 1,172 adult hospitalizations last week.

Before this week, Michigan COVID hospitalizations had risen in eight of the previous nine weeks.

Of the 1,145 adults in the hospital with COVID on Wednesday, 148 were in intensive care and 69 were on a ventilator.

There were also 46 kids hospitalized with COVID in Michigan as of Wednesday.

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

Michigan averaged 21 COVID deaths per day this week, the highest mark since March.

But it’s still far fewer COVID deaths than Michigan had during omicron’s winter peak. Michigan was averaging more than 100 COVID deaths per day during parts of January.

Michigan has had 34,970 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 3,347 probable COVID deaths since the pandemic began. Put another way, roughly one in every 287 Michigan residents have died from confirmed COVID.

Below is a chart illustrating the seven-day average for reported deaths throughout the pandemic.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

Vaccinations: 63.4% of residents have received at least one dose

About 63.4% of Michigan residents have gotten at least one COVID shot, 58.3% have received the full original regimen and 33.9% have been boosted.

The omicron-specific COVID-19 booster shot is now available in Michigan from both Pfizer and Moderna.

The new shots are authorized for use as a single booster dose, administered at least two months after a previous COVID vaccine. Moderna’s shot is authorized for people 18 and older, while Pfizer’s is for those 12 and older.

Below is a vaccination breakdown by age group of Michiganders who have gotten at least one shot (initiated) and those who are “completed,” meaning two shots of mRNA vaccines or one Johnson & Johnson shot, as of Wednesday, Sept. 14:

  • 75 and older: 87.1% initiated; 81.3% completed
  • 65 to 74: 90.4% initiated; 85.4% completed
  • 50 to 64: 76.9% initiated; 72.2% completed
  • 40 to 49: 67.6% initiated; 62.4% completed
  • 30 to 39: 65.9% initiated; 59.6% completed
  • 20 to 29: 55.6% initiated; 49.4% completed
  • 16 to 19: 56.6% initiated; 51.6% completed
  • 12 to 15: 49.8% initiated; 46.1% completed
  • 5 to 11: 30.3% initiated; 27.3% completed
  • Younger than 5: 6.2% initiated, 1.5% completed

Below is a chart that ranks counties from most vaccinated to least vaccinated.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

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 COVID19@michigan.gov, or call 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

If you have any COVID-19 questions, please submit them to covidquestions@mlive.com to be considered for future MLive reporting.

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