Record-High Michigan COVID-19 Hospitalizations Still Rising
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a new high Wednesday, exceeding the previous record for the fifth straight time that the state has reported data.
Nearly 4,700 patients were in the hospital statewide during a fourth surge in infections. The roughly 4,400 hospitalized adults with confirmed cases, most of them unvaccinated, were the highest number in the 21-month coronavirus pandemic and 150 more than a week ago. The state health department reports the total three times a week.
Michigan recorded 351 additional deaths, including 166 in the most recent 48-hour period. The death toll surpassed 26,600 in a state that had the country’s second-highest seven-day case rate. The seven-day daily death average, around 120, was near levels seen last December and January — before vaccines became widely available — according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Amid the latest wave, Republicans who control the state House on Wednesday unveiled a $1.2 billion plan to spend federal coronavirus relief aid that was enacted by Congress and President Joe Biden nine months ago. It includes $300 million for rapid testing and screening in schools that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants legislators to allocate next week before adjourning until January.
The House proposal also would provide $300 million to help hospitals recruit and retain workers amid a shortage, $367 million for coronavirus testing and $134 million for early treatment of COVID-19 patients with monoclonal antibodies and other pending medicines such as antiviral pills. Roughly a third of the funds would come from discretionary federal rescue dollars and two-thirds from non-discretionary dollars.
Rep. Julie Calley, a Portland Republican, said the state health department has set a goal of getting half of eligible high-risk residents who test positive to get antibody infusions within 10 days of the onset of symptoms.
“They have proven to reduce hospitalizations as well as deaths. In order to protect Michigan, we really want to see this movement expanded,” she told the House Appropriations Committee.
The panel waited to vote on the bill, which also includes $90 million to continue vaccination programs. Nearly 59% percent of Michigan residents ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated, and nearly 66% have received at least one dose. About a third of the fully vaccinated adults have gotten a booster shot.
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