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Residents in 22 Michigan counties should mask up as COVID-19 numbers and hospitalizations rise

There are now 22 counties in Michigan with high levels of COVID-19, according to hospital and case data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and updated Thursday night. Residents in these areas should mask themselves indoors and in public, the CDC says.

Last week there were 16 districts at the top of three levels established by the CDC in February. Only three counties fell off the list. Calhoun County, home of Battle Creek, went from a high orange level to a low green level last week, and Emmet County at the tip of the Lower Peninsula and Manistee County in northwest Michigan were downgraded to a medium level.

Added to the list this week: Luce, Schoolcraft, Delta and Marquette counties in the Upper Peninsula; Crawford, Charlevoix, Otsego and Presque Isle counties in the northern Lower Peninsula and Monroe counties in the southeast.

Remaining on the list: Chippewa and Mackinac counties in the UP; Cheboygan, Antrim, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse and Benzie counties to the north; and the counties of St. Clair, Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Wayne in the southeast. Grand Traverse County has been on the list for three straight weeks.

A total of 30 districts are yellow and the remaining 31 districts are green. West Michigan is the greenest area in the state. The Southeast, Michigan’s most populous area, has seen the highest numbers.

TIED TOGETHER: 8 northern Michigan counties see double cases: Michigan COVID data for Thursday, May 19

Only at the high level of orange does the CDC recommend universal indoor and public masking.

But people with symptoms, who test positive, or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask regardless of where they live, the CDC says, and people at high risk of serious illness may need to take extra precautions if they’re in high level of COVID-19. 19 parishes.

To see how the CDC rated your county, check out the interactive map below. Tap or hover over a county to see underlying data.

Can’t see the map above? Click here.

As the Omicron wave subsided after record highs, the CDC relaxed its mask guidance, switching from looking at cases and positive tests to looking at cases and hospitalizations. The idea is to prevent serious illnesses and limit the burden on hospitals.

A county is high if there were more than 200 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days and 10 or more new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 people in the past week. (Not every county has a hospital, so each is assigned a healthcare area, a geographic region that contains at least one hospital. Countys are assigned metrics calculated for the entire area, weighted based on each county’s population.)

Michigan’s seven-day average of new confirmed cases on Wednesday was the highest since February. On Sunday and Monday, more than 19% of tests were positive for SARS-CoV-2, the highest single-day percentage since February 6.

However, there have been signs that the rise is flattening out. The total number of deaths this week was about the same as last week and the percentage of total positive tests was unchanged, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

As of Wednesday, May 18, there were 1,100 adult and 46 pediatric patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Michigan hospitals.

In mid-April, the state reported 482 adult and 14 pediatric patients with confirmed or suspected cases. In the worst case of omicron, there were about 5,000 COVID patients in hospitals.

Seven Michigan hospitals — in Port Huron, Coldwater, Adrian, Monroe, Detroit and Howell — were at 100% capacity this week, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Six others had 95 to 99% occupancy.

The number of COVID deaths in the United States surpassed 1 million this week, according to Johns Hopkins University. (The CDC reports about 998,500 deaths.)

The situation is worst in the north-east. Rhode Island and Connecticut have the highest per capita new cases in the past seven days, according to data from The New York Times. Michigan is #12 among states.

Read more on MLive:

Children aged 5 to 11 can now receive a COVID-19 refresher

8 northern Michigan counties see double cases: Michigan COVID data for Thursday, May 19

As US surpasses 1 million COVID deaths, Michigan cases rise; positive tests, deaths are flat

COVID-19 spoils ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s stop at Saginaw’s Temple Theater

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