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West Michigan region sees most rapid growth of COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the state, more than double last week

In Region 6, including Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 101% from last week.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — During an update by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the State Epidemiologist said the state has a 45 percent growth in hospitalization rates for COVID-19. In Region 6, which includes Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties, hospitalizations have increased 101 percent from last week, with 274 people admitted to inpatient care. 

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions have also grown. The state saw a 43 percent jump. Region 6 saw an 86 percent increase from just last week. Sarah Lyon-Callo, the State Epidemiologist, said this week hospitals are forecasting what the numbers may look like if they continue at the current rate. 

"They estimate by April 12, we could be at more than 4,500 hospitalizations for COVID-19," said Lyon-Callo, "which exceeds our spring peak 2020 census. And for the ICU, they're projecting we could be over 800 patients in the ICU, which is higher than our winter peak ICU census."

Case rates remain increasing for the past six weeks as well. Michigan currently ranks number one in the nation for both highest number of cases and highest case rate. The current positivity rate is 15.6 percent. 

Credit: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Region 6, much of West Michigan, saw a 101% increase in hospitalizations over the past week for COVID-19.

Trends shifting toward younger populations becoming infected or hospitalized with COVID-19 are also continuing. Over the past week, those between the ages of 40 and 49 have had the greatest increase in daily hospitalization admissions. 

"The rates currently the highest are among those between 20-29 and 30-39," said Lyon-Callo of positive COVID-19 tests. "However, rates for children between between 0-9 and 10-19 are at an all-time high, and have more than quadrupled than a month ago."

However, hospitalizations among those 70 years old and older are not as high, a good sign vaccination coverage is helping. 

The death trends have also shifted, now increasing at 2.4 deaths per million. That's a 75 percent increase in mortality rate since the March 9 low. 

When asked about reinstating some COVID-19 precautions, Elizabeth Hertel, the MDHHS Director, neither confirmed nor denied any plans. One of their top goals is focusing on school age children, especially those in athletics. She touted the importance of the recent COVID-19 testing protocols for high school athletics.

RELATED: State 'ramps up' testing at nursing homes, schools and airports to slow COVID-19

"Our focus right now continues on being we are getting as many people vaccinated as possible," said Hertel. "I think it’s also important to remember we still do have a number of restrictions in place that limit gathering sizes pretty significantly."

Michigan saw a 14 percent increase in active outbreaks from the previous week. K-12 schools had the greatest number of outbreaks at 81, followed by manufacturing/construction, senior and other assisted living centers, childcare and youth programs, retail, and restaurant and bars. 

Credit: MDHHS
Michigan saw the most COVID-19 outbreaks in K-12 schools, manufacturing/construction, assisted living homes, child care and youth programs, retail, and restaurants and bars.

The highest number of school outbreaks related to sports clusters were basketball, hockey and wrestling. Lyon-Callo showed some optimism that once spring sports seasons begin, which are largely outdoors, these numbers may recede. However, she emphasized the importance of wearing masks when possible, minimizing social gatherings related to the teams and social distancing when possible. 

To see more about daily COVID-19 cases and vaccinations, click here.

RELATED VIDEO: State data shows 'very low' percentage of COVID infection for fully vaccinated individuals

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