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Case Rates Down 70% Since Nov. Order; 2 Other ‘Key Metrics’ Down, Too

January 19, 2021

The three “key metrics” the state is using to guide COVID-19 reopening decisions have improved since the epidemic order issued in November, with the weekly average of cases per million people down 70% since November.  

The case rate is on a 54-day slide since Nov. 14, according to the MI Safe Start map, right before the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued an epidemic order that was later extended on Dec. 18. 
On Nov. 15, the seven-day average was 687 cases per million residents per day. By Dec. 18, that had dwindled to a weekly average of 295 cases per million people. On Jan. 6, it was at 205 cases per million people. 
As for hospital beds occupied by COVID patients, the weekly average first increased from 15% on Nov. 15 to 16.5% on Dec. 18. But by Jan. 6, the rate had come down to 12.3%. 
The percent of positive tests held steady between Jan. 6 and Dec. 18, however, at 9.9% on both dates. The chart at the MI Safe Start Map site shows the rate came down toward the end of December before climbing back up. 
However, the latest percent positivity figure is down from the 13.9% weekly average in positive tests from Nov. 15, when the DHHS issued the epidemic order that closed indoor bar and restaurant service, limited indoor gatherings, and other measures. 
After DHHS issued the epidemic order in November, the state said it was watching those three metrics, in particular, to help guide further reopening decisions. 
The Dec. 18 order extended various restrictions from the one in November but lifted others. 
In a data briefing last week, the DHHS found recent trends showed COVID hospitalization rates were down, that the case rate had plateaued toward the end of December, and that test positivity had begun going up after hitting a low near the end of last month – see pg. 5 on these slides. 
The call to Whitmer to allow restaurants and bars to again offer in-service dining continued Monday, with Reps. Bradley Slagh (R-Zeeland) and Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) the latest to call for the easing of those restrictions. 
“The stories of hardship are everywhere,” Frederick wrote in a letter, per a press release. “Restaurant employees trying to provide for themselves and their children are at a financial breaking point. Families whose livelihoods revolve around operating a small restaurant are draining life savings, struggling to make ends meet, and getting in deeper financial trouble every single day that statewide restrictions continue.” 
Whitmer’s Administration Monday issued a press release with statements from herself, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and the chair of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission “highly commending bar and restaurant owners for their ongoing compliance with the state’s emergency health orders.” 
The press release noted the MLCC has issued liquor license suspensions to 32 establishments for COVID-19 violations, compared to the 8,500 on-premises liquor licenses in Michigan. 
Whitmer recently announced the goal of having every school district in Michigan offer an in-person learning option by March 1. 
In other COVID-19 data updates: 
– The state Monday reported 4,536 cases and 47 deaths from Monday and Sunday, bringing statewide totals to 523,618 cases and 13,401 deaths.  
– On the prior Saturday, the state added 2,706 cases and 222 deaths to the rolls, with the daily death count that day being the fourth-highest reported from any particular day so far in the pandemic. 
– In the latest school outbreak numbers posted Monday, the past week saw three new school outbreaks, the same number of new outbreaks from the week prior. Combined with ongoing school outbreaks, there were a total of 72 school outbreaks this week, down from the 102 the week prior. 

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