Michigan has worst COVID-19 spread in country

NOW: Michigan has worst COVID-19 spread in country

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- Michigan now has the worst coronavirus spread out of any state in the country and its causing alarm for both health officials and businesses.

“We have about 12 people coming to the hospital each day with COVID, so one every two hours – that includes people treated in the emergency department and discharged – but that is higher than the first surge,” said Michael Getty, Senior Director of Integrated Analytics at Spectrum Health Lakeland.

Lakeland Hospital is watching COVID-19 trends move in the wrong direction in Berrien County.

A few months ago, the county got to a manageable positivity rate of 5 percent, now, it’s doubled to 11 percent – a number that could soon overwhelm hospitals once again. 

“We’re on our way to going from a census of 5, 6, 7, 8 patients all the way back up to 40, 45,” said Getty.

This is happening in Michigan as a whole, according to state data, out of the roughly 35,000 people tested each day, that positivity rate is now at 13 percent.

Michigan also coming in at number one now for the highest 7 day average of cases per 100,000 people.

On the CDC’s dashboard, Michigan has 411 cases per 100,000.

It tops all the other states on the east coast also labeled at high risk, including both the state of New York and New York City.

While health officials are ready to sound the alarm, many small businesses are finally getting back on track. 

“The community is what’s been most supportive and I think they understand the difficulties – which they’re facing in their own lives – so it’s been nice to see people want to support and help us survive,” said Patrick Ross, Manager at Urban Garage Market in Benton Harbor.

And ready to see Michigan lift more restrictions – not go backwards.

“We would’ve loved to have seen it a long time ago, for businesses like ours it’s been frustrating to see big box stores, retail, completely open, when they already get more business than we will ever manage to get, yet we hardly see any traffic and we had to be closed,” said Ross.

That spike in cases continues to be seen more in younger age groups – Lakeland said cases in Berrien County between ages 35 and 49 made up 8 percent at the end of 2020, now they’re 12 percent of the county’s total.

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