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Sunday, Aug. 2: Latest developments on coronavirus in Michigan

Saturday was the fourth day in a row COVID-19 cases topped 700 as 735 were reported Aug. 1. There were seven new deaths, with four coming from a check of vital records, but it wasn’t all negative.

Recoveries from coronavirus topped 60,000 Saturday as the state Department of Health and Human Services reported a total of 60,002 recoveries, up from 57,502 reported last week.

A recovery is defined as someone still alive 30 days after onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

Michigan coronavirus recoveries top 60,000

Michigan now has a total of 82,356 cases since the state began recording coronavirus data in March. The death total is at 6,206.

Hospital data shows that Michigan’s hospitals are at 74 percent capacity for inpatient beds, a number that has remained steady for weeks.

In Michigan on Friday, there were 33,621 COVID-19 tests conducted, with 1,135 coming back positive. That results in a positivity rate of 3.4 percent.

How accurate is Michigan’s COVID-19 death total?

Dr. Joyce DeJong has heard the skepticism surrounding Michigan’s 6,191 confirmed coronavirus death count. That the number has been inflated under political or financial motivations.

But as the medical examiner for 12 of the state’s 83 counties, who has played a key role in the behind-the-scenes process for counting each of those deaths, she’s comfortable with the accuracy.

The total COVID-19 deaths includes those in which a death certificate lists COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. The physician completing the death certificate will select one “underlying cause of death” and can list additional “contributing causes.”

“Often times there are other co-morbidities,” DeJong said. “If we think this (coronavirus) was a major contributing factor then we’re including it and I think that sort of mirrors what the CDC has said. They’ve issued well-defined guidance on how to classify these deaths.

Michigan county-level coronavirus data for Saturday, Aug. 1; 2 U.P. counties seeing surge

A Wisconsin public-health official blames “quarantine fatigue.”

A Michigan health officials points to laxer rules in Wisconsin regarding masks, bars and restaurants.

Whatever the reason, counties on either side of the Michigan/Wisconsin border in the Upper Peninsula are current hot spots for coronavirus.

Gogebic, which is Michigan’s westernmost county and includes the city of Ironwood, currently has Michigan’s highest coronavirus infection rate, with 34 new cases in the past seven days. That’s 45% of the county’s 76 confirmed cases since March.

Meanwhile, Iron County in Wisconsin, which borders Gogebic, has the highest infection rates in its state, according to a July 30 report by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Two other hot spots are Menominee County, Michigan, and Menominee County, Wisconsin. The Michigan county has reported 22 cases in the past week, and has totaled 82 cases since March.

New coronavirus cases along Indiana border higher than elsewhere in Southwest Michigan

The nine counties within the Kalamazoo region have been deemed “medium-high” risk for coronavirus spread. But, nearby, two counties along the Michigan-Indiana border are labeled as higher risk for new cases, according to state data.

St. Joseph, Cass and Van Buren counties have daily new case rates higher that fall into higher risk categories than the other counties. Kalamazoo County epidemiologist Mary Franks has pointed to population mobility as a risk factor for spreading the virus across county, region or state lines.

“It’s always a concern when we are such a fluid population that is highly mobile and we interact with lots of different people across lots of different county lines,” she said. “For example, I drive through two counties and countless zip codes. Our advice is the same, just being vigilant, wearing your mask, washing your hands frequently, avoiding higher risk places.”

Whitmer vetoes GOP-backed bill to house nursing home coronavirus patients in separate facilities

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed legislation backed by Republicans that would have directed COVID-19 patients to dedicated facilities instead of nursing homes. The Democratic governor has faced intense scrutiny from GOP lawmakers about her handling of nursing homes, but Whitmer said the bill is a “political game.”

Whitmer said the legislation would be harmful to nursing home residents and COVID-19 patients, as it would relocated seniors “without any requirement for consent, doctor’s approval, or notification to patients and their families.”

According to data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services last month, 34% of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan are linked to nursing homes.

Here is what football can do when official practice starts under MHSAA coronavirus guidelines

The Michigan High School Athletic Association released a list of guidelines for football while schools wait to see whether they will be allowed to compete this fall.

Football practice is set to start on Aug. 10. Practices cannot last more than three hours and teams can only practice for five hours total per day.

The MHSAA requires practices to be held outdoors with physical distancing. All equipment should be sanitized frequently, including before, during and after practices.

The first week of practice is dubbed as “Acclimatization Week” by the MHSAA. Players are allowed to participate without shoulder pads or lower body pads with football pants. Football teams from having scrimmages and practices with students from other schools for the entirety of the fall season.

NAIA, WHAC postpone fall championships, will play modified 2020 schedules

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially postponed most fall sports to the spring 2021 season, with a few caveats in place, due to concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NAIA Council of Presidents voted Friday to postpone the league’s national football championship to the spring of 2021. The decision comes three days after the council voted to postpone the national and conference championships in cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball to the spring of 2021.

However, the league is allowing individual institutions within its governance to decide whether or not to continue to schedule regular-season conference and non-conference competitions, as long as those decisions are made following all federal, state, and local health and safety guidelines.

For more statewide data, visit MLive’s coronavirus data page, here. To find a testing site near you, check out the state’s online test finder, here, send an email to COVID19@michigan.gov, or call 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

COVID-19 PREVENTION TIPS

In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus.

Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible.

Use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, countertops) and carry hand sanitizer with you when you go into places like stores.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also issued executive orders requiring people to wear face coverings over their mouth and nosewhile in public indoor and crowded outdoor spaces. See an explanation of what that means here.

Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

For more data on COVID-19 in Michigan, visit https://www.mlive.com/coronavirus/data/.


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