Michigan reports sharp increase in COVID-19 cases

Oct 16, 2020


Credit Interlochen Public Radio

Thursday marked the highest single day of reported COVID-19 cases in Michigan. The state reported 2,030 new cases and 32 deaths. 

A partial reason that number is so high is due to a slowdown in the reporting of electronic lab results from the previous day, according to the Michigan State Police.

But on Tuesday, state Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said we may be in the second wave of the virus.

In the Traverse City region, infection rates are rising steadily. Grand Traverse County surpassed 500 cases this week— now reporting 543 cases, 151 of which are considered active by the health department. Benzie and Kalkaska counties also show increasing cases over the past two weeks.

According to the Mi Safe Start Map the area is still at “risk level B,” the lowest risk in the state. Though the test positivity rate has gone up and state hospital data shows more people are being admitted.

Additionally, there were three deaths reported in Grand Traverse County since Saturday, all residents older than 70.

Further north the eastern Upper Peninsula is now seeing more outbreaks, which a local health department attributes to “COVID fatigue.” 

Kerry Ott, public information officer for LMAS District Health Department which serves Luce, Mackinac, Alger and Schoolcraft counties, says many residents have given up wearing masks and are getting together in large groups, which is causing community spread. 

An outbreak at a men’s retreat in neighboring Chippewa County, which Bridge Magazine reported this week, is one example of how groups are flouting public health guidelines and not cooperating with public health officials, Ott says.


While she says the group’s organizers are now helping the health department, the region’s four public health nurses are still having a hard time contact tracing because most residents are ignoring their calls. With no ICU beds in the region and only 63 hospital beds for more than 34,000 people, Ott says she is very concerned about the coming weeks.