COVID-19

WVBI COVID-19 Update for July 30, 2020

Governor Whitmer is reversing course and locking things back down in our region and the UP. The new restrictions close bars where more than 70% of the sales come from alcohol and limit gatherings to 10 people indoors and 100 people outside. The governor cited so-called “super-spreader” events in Lansing and Ann Arbor downstate and a July 4th gathering at Torch Lake as the reason for her actions. But, she is allowing Detroit Casinos to reopen at 15% of capacity.
While the absolute number of cases has spiked in the regions affected by the change since the beginning of the summer vacation season, the metrics that the state says are most important have remained good—and are trending down. The governor and her officials offered no explanation for this disparity in what their data show and their actions. The per capita new case rate spiked on July 4th, but has been falling ever since and yesterday dipped into the “low risk” zone. Our positive test rate—the number of positive tests compared to the number of tests down hasn’t left the “safe zone” since May 7th. It moved up slightly in early July, but has been trending down since then. There has been no surge in deaths and, while no death is to be ignored, the fact remains that the number of deaths in our region has been very low since early May.
Congressman Jack Bergman was critical of the governor’s move calling it a “slap in the face” to small businesses. He pointed out that the next month is critical to seasonal businesses and said that the governor, quoting him here, “has used her position over the past several days to complain about draft federal legislation, attack the President, and now bully First District constituents.” He also said it made absolutely no sense to close businesses here while allowing Casinos to open in Detroit.
Locally, there is more information on the recent positive test at the Health Center. As we reported yesterday, the individual involved has left the island on their own transportation—presumably, a private boat or plane—and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan has completed contact tracing for the case. The person had visited Island Energies and the hardware, but was wearing a mask at both places. We were told yesterday that both businesses had been notified, but it turns out that wasn’t the case—apparently due to confusion about who was to do that. Apparently, since the person wasn’t at either location for longer than 15 minutes the Health Department determined that now follow up with the businesses was necessary—so no contacts were made, but the process was reported as complete. Health Center staff misunderstood the notice that the process was complete to mean that the businesses had been contacted. The critical take-away is that the Health Department has concluded that no extra action is needed at either location. We’ve been told that the individual who tested positive is feeling ill, but has not been hospitalized. Hopefully, they will have a speedy recovery and join the pool of plasma donors.
South of the border, Gary, Indiana officials have decided to close beaches there for two weeks after the city saw a jump in COVID-19 cases. Apparently, this was at least partly in response to comments made by Dr. Anthony Fauci [Fow-Chee] on Good Morning America on Tuesday.
Now, here’s a look at the latest data. There was another big jump in the state’s daily case count yesterday—but once again state officials say that is partially the result of reporting issues. 996 new cases were reported, but about 300 of them were the result of clearing a backlog of tests. That brings the actual number more in line with recent results, which have been running high in any case. There were just two new deaths reported. Total cases now stand at 80,172 and deaths at 6,172. Seven day rolling averages are now at 703 for new cases and four for deaths. Positive test rate for the state as a whole is 3.5%. The target is three percent.
In the region affecting the island, five new cases were reported. No new deaths. New cases were in Emmet with two, Grand Traverse with two, Otsego with two. Leelanau dropped one case. Total cases in our region is 504. Total deaths are still at 24. Those numbers are totals since the start of the crisis. Full county-by-county data for the region are in today’s script online.
COUNTY
Cases
Deaths
Δ Cases
Δ Deaths
Antrim
31
0
0
0
Benzie
25
1
0
0
Charlevoix
39
2
0
0
Emmet
50
2
2
0
Grand Traverse
153
5
2
0
Kalkaska
34
4
0
0
Leelanau
58
0
-1
0
Otsego
114
10
2
0
Notwithstanding the governor’s actions, our safe start zone numbers continue to look good. Positive test rate is at 1.7 percent which is in the low risk classification in the plan. The new case rate is at 6.5, dropping into the lowest risk zone. There were nine new cases reported in the Traverse City Safe Start Zone yesterday.
Up in the U-P, the report showed nine new cases bringing their total to 442. No new deaths.
On the island, 134 total tests run. 129 are back as negative. Three pending. There have been two positive tests so far.

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