October 20, 2021

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COVID cases in Michigan up 64% in one week; Wayne County issues mask guidance; Labor Day parade canceled

3 min read

Wayne County health officials are urging residents to resume wearing masks inside public places again as the state health department reported a 64 percent increase in new cases of COVID-19 across Michigan this week.

On Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 3,962 new confirmed cases of the virus over the past three days in the state.

That brings the total number of new cases reported over the past seven days to 6,567 (an average of 938 new cases per day), a 64 percent increase from the previous seven-day total (4,012) and a nearly three-fold increase from two weeks ago.

By comparison, a month ago there were fewer than 160 new cases each day after the Fourth of July holiday, a Crain’s analysis of state data shows.

The rapid rise in cases of the virus caused the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO to cancel this year’s Labor Day parade in Detroit, the second straight year the march celebrating the labor movement has been canceled due to the pandemic and safety concerns.

“While we desire to celebrate the victories of Michigan’s labor movement over the last year, the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO and our affiliated unions have always prioritized the safety of our workers,” Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO President Daryl Newman said in a statement.

In suburban Wayne County, excluding Detroit, the county health department is reporting a 60 percent increase in new cases of the virus over the past two weeks and a 5.2 percent testing positivity rate.

The statewide positivity rate was 4.3 percent on Thursday, according to MDHHS data.

Health experts say positivity rates above 3 percent are evidence of uncontrolled community spread of the virus.

The rise in new cases of COVID-19 comes as public health officials step efforts to get more residents vaccinated.

As of Friday, 5.05 million residents over age 12 — 58.8 percent — have received at least one dose of vaccines manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

In suburban Wayne County, the 66.4 percent of residents over age 12 have been vaccinated, according to state data.

But in the city of Detroit, just 41 percent of the eligibile population is vaccinated — one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

By comparison, about 69.6 percent of the eligible residents in Oakland and Washtenaw counties are vaccinated, while 58.4 percent of Macomb County residents have been innoculated against the virus.

“We don’t have community protection against the virus because too many residents remain unvaccinated,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said Friday in a statement. “With the emergence of the highly-contagious Delta variant, wearing masks indoors again is necessary to keep people safe, especially children and individuals who are medically unable to get vaccinated.”

Also Friday, Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based retail giant Dollar General announced it is opening clinics inside 12 of its Michigan stores, creating a new vaccine access point in rural and urban areas of the state where the dollar store chain has most of its stores.

SnapNurse, a nurse staffing company, is running the clinics inside Dollar General stores in Reading, Litchfield, Sheridan, Newberry, Breckenridge, Middleton, Stephenson, Fremont, Fairview, Mio, Saginaw and Lansing.

“This partnership helps to break down barriers of accessing the vaccine by bringing clinics to where people are in our communities, including rural and other communities that are harder to reach,” said Kerry Ebersole Singh, director of the Protect Michigan Commission, a state panel promoting the COVID vaccines and their effectiveness.

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