Despite vaccination efforts, Michigan remains “unquestionably a national hot spot right now” for Covid-19, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.
Michigan has not seen this high of a positivity rate since the first surge last spring despite conducting many more tests now, an official with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.
“This indicates that there is now broad community spread,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health, said.
The positivity rate increased to 18%, which is four times what health officials saw last February, according to Khaldun
Hospitalizations are also increasing. At least 15.2% of hospital beds across the state are being used to care for Covid-19 patients, Khaldun said. Hospitals are evaluating and implementing their surge plans, including considerations of canceling elective surgeries, Khaldun stated.
The number of cases and patients doubled in the last two weeks at Spectrum Health and continue to climb each day, according to Spectrum Health CEO Tina Decker. The more contagious B.1.1.7 variant is believed to have contributed to the surge, Decker explained.
Gov. Whitmer proposed various efforts to double down on increasing case numbers.
The governor urged high schools specifically to voluntarily go remote for two weeks following spring break. Youth sports have also been encouraged to suspend practices and games during this two-week period, Whitmer added.
Over 56 pop-up testing sites have opened on school campuses across the state and are now offering post-spring break testing, Khaldun said. She urged those who have recently traveled or have plans to travel to get tested.
Whitmer and Khaldun both advised people to avoid indoor dining. Instead, they should choose to get takeout to support local businesses.
“To be very clear, these are not orders, mandates, or requirements. A year in, we all know what works, and this has to be a team effort. We have to do this together. Lives depend on it,” Whitmer stated during the press conference.
Even those who have already received the vaccine should mask up, wash hands, and socially distance, the governor emphasized.
“This is my ask to you, the people of Michigan. Please, redouble your efforts on these fronts for the next couple weeks, Whitmer said. “It’s everybody against Covid, and we have to keep going until we win.”
Over 5.1 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, meanwhile, have been administered to over 3.1 million people in Michigan, Whitmer said.
This marks a new milestone for the state. Nearly 40% of residents have been vaccinated in less than four months, and the rate continues to speed up, Whitmer said. Michigan administered 1 million doses, to surpass the 5 million mark, in less than two weeks, according to the governor.
CNN’s Miguel Marquez contributed reporting to this post.