Northern Michigan county now at high COVID level; residents there should mask, CDC says

Grand Traverse County in northwest Michigan is now at a high COVID-19 level, meaning there is potential for strain on the health care system, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Residents there should wear masks while indoors and in public and while on public transportation, and those at high-risk of severe disease should consider taking additional precautions, the CDC advises.

Michigan has not had a county at a high level since March, and many have long stopped covering their faces in school, grocery stores and other busy places. As the winter omicron swell subsided, the CDC in February adjusted its assessment, looking at regional hospital data instead of only new per-capita cases or percentages of positive tests.

Grand Traverse County saw 12 new admissions of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days ending Tuesday, May 3. It also had more than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, in the same period.

RELATED: 7-day average of new, confirmed COVID cases up 32% this week in Michigan

Additionally, Clinton, Livingston, Wayne, Macomb and Monroe counties went this week from low level green to yellow. Washtenaw and Oakland counties remain yellow. Southeast Michigan has been hardest hit by the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the state, but most areas are seeing increases. Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula also was upgraded this week from low to medium level.

It is only at the orange level that the CDC recommends people wear masks. People with symptoms, a positive text or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask regardless of where they live, the CDC says.

To see how the CDC assessed your county, check out the interactive map below. Tap on or hover over a county to see the underlying data.

Can’t see the map above? Click here.

When looking at new cases per 100,000 people in the seven days ending Wednesday, the last day Michigan updated its numbers, Washtenaw, Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, Livingston, Marquette and Monroe counties were all in the top 10.

Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw and Wayne counties were very close to hitting the criteria for the high level. They were seeing 9.6 new confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals per 100,000 people in the seven days ending Tuesday. If the rate rises to 10, they will be orange, assuming their COVID-19 rates remain the same or increase.

RELATED: Spring surge pushes beyond metro Detroit: Michigan COVID data for Thursday, May 5

The northeast part of the country continues to see the highest daily cases average per-capita. Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey are leading the country. Maine, New York, Vermont, Delaware and Washington, DC also had among the highest hospitalization rates in the United States.

In Michigan, hospitals were at about 79% capacity as of early this week. Munson Medical Center in Traverse City had about 79% of its beds filled.

As of Wednesday, hospitals statewide were treating 708 adults and 29 pediatric patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Thirty-two are on ventilators and 94 adults are in intensive care.

On April 27, there were 604 adult and 30 pediatric patients with confirmed or suspected cases. This included 28 on ventilators and 78 adults in intensive care.

Meanwhile, about 12.4% of tests were positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the seven days ending Wednesday. The prior week, 8.8% of tests were positive.

The idea is to dial up prevention strategies when communities are experiencing severe disease and dial it down when the situation is more stable, the CDC has said about its community COVID assessments.

Not every county in Michigan or the United States has a hospital, so each one is assigned a health services area, a geographic region that contains at least one hospital. Counties within each division are attributed the metrics calculated for the entire area and weighted based on each county’s population, a CDC spokesperson earlier said.

Michigan has 83 counties and 25 health service areas, three of which stretch outside the state’s boundaries, according to the CDC.

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