DETROIT – Obviously, the coronavirus epidemic in Michigan is improving.
In the past two weeks, key data points have shown positive signs as the state prepares to move into the next phase of reopening.
Cases of slower deaths
Case growth started to slow about three weeks ago and has continued to stabilize, while deaths are now starting to slow. Only 11 new deaths were reported on Sunday, the lowest since March. No new deaths have been reported in Detroit.
Meanwhile, tests have more than doubled in recent weeks, and the positive rate continues to drop. In the past 10 days, Michigan has processed, on average, about 15,500 tests per day. The state is now 16th in test rates, up from 24th just three weeks ago.
The positive test rate is now below 16%, against almost 40% in early April.
Hospital admissions continue to decline
Last month’s follow-up data, hospitalizations, especially intensive care patients, showed a steady decline.
As of May 15, only 5.68% of active COVID-19 cases have been hospitalized in Michigan, up from nearly 18% on April 12.
So have we flattened the curve?
There is no exact measure to answer this question. Different states and different countries have set different benchmarks and targets for managing hospital capacity.
Related: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer To Reopen Parts Of The State This Week, Including Restaurants And Bars
In Michigan, the flattening of the curve will be defined by a sustained decline in cases and an increase in hospital capacity. Governor Whitmer’s six-step plan, in phase 4 (we are in phase 3):
Phase 4: cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly on the decline
This phase occurs when the number of new cases and deaths has decreased for some time, but the overall level of cases remains high. In the “improvement” phase, most new outbreaks are quickly identified, traced and contained thanks to a robust test infrastructure and rapid contact tracing.
The capacity of the health system can generally handle these new epidemics, and therefore the case fatality rate does not exceed usual levels. Although a community may be in decline, the total number of infected individuals still indicates the need to step back to stop transmission and move on to the next phase.
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