Michigan COVID Cases Increase Over 40% in Single Week

Michigan is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, which have increased by more than 45 percent over the past week.

According to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Monday, Michigan was reporting a weekly average number of daily cases of 3,274. As of March 15, the state was averaging about 2,223 daily cases, showing a 47 percent increase.

On Monday, Michigan reported at least 5,768 new COVID-19 cases, while on March 15, the state reported at least 3,828 new daily cases.

Since the start of the pandemic, Michigan has reported more than 633,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 15,919 deaths.

In an email sent to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health wrote: "The presence of more infectious variants, such as the B 1.1.7 variant, threatens our progress in control of the epidemic and MDHHS will be monitoring data closely."

"Our goal is to reengage while reducing public health risk which is why we move slowly to maintain progress and momentum with thoughtful public health measures. We will continue to monitor the data to make decisions including three key metrics: case rates, percent positivity, and hospitalizations," the spokesperson added.

As the email notes, Michigan is seeing a large presence of the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the U.K.

According to a CDC variant tracker, Michigan has reported at least 986 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant. The B.1.1.7 strain is designated as a "variant of concern" by the CDC with a 50 percent increased transmission rate and "Likely increased severity based on hospitalizations and case fatality rates."

Michigan is second only to Florida (1,042) in the number of B.1.1.7 cases confirmed, as states such as Texas, California and Massachusetts have reported more than 400 cases of the variant.

In an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, Michigan has recently expanded its vaccine eligibility. Starting on Monday, Michigan expanded its eligibility to those ages 50 and up, as well as residents aged 16 and up who have underlying medical conditions or disabilities. The state also announced that by April 5, all Michigan residents aged 16 or above will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

"The safe COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to protect you, your family and others from the virus," Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a press release announcing the expanded eligibility.

"I urge all eligible Michiganders to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccines. It is essential to getting our country back to normal, so that we can all hug our families, get back to work, go to restaurants, send our kids to school, play sports and get together again."

According to data from the state's department of health, more than 2.3 million Michigan residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Michigan Coronavirus
Pins for Beaumont Health Care workers after receiving their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine next to a syringe at their service center in Southfield, Michigan, on December 15, 2020. Jeff Kowalsky/Getty