Michigan’s pediatric COVID cases are on the rise

10- to 19-year-olds have highest case rate in state

By: - October 15, 2021 3:59 pm

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COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Michigan. 

State health officials reported Wednesday that the case rate rose to 304.4 cases per million people. About 4.9% of emergency department visits were for COVID diagnoses over the past week, an increase over last week’s 4.1%. Case rates are highest among 10- to 19-year-olds; there are now 474.8 cases per million people in that age group, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Children ages zero to nine have the lowest case rate, the department said.

Children in K-12 schools are far more likely to be diagnosed with COVID in districts without mask policies than those requiring masks, health officials also reported Wednesday. There were 73 COVID cases per 100,000 students by late September in school districts without mask mandates, which is 62% higher than the case rate in schools with mask requirements. In districts that mandate masks, the rate of infection was 45 cases per 100,000 students by the end of September, DHHS said.

Unlike last school year, there is no statewide mask mandate for Michigan schools. Because of that, local school districts or health departments have issued their own mask mandates.

A little more than half-million children in Michigan — 504,627 —  in 311 school districts across the state are attending districts with no mask mandate, DHHS reported. There are 748,181 students attending 222 school districts with mask requirements. Thirty-six of the state’s 533 school districts have rescinded their mask mandates this year. In addition to masks mitigating the spread of COVID, mask advocates have emphasized children under the age of 12 cannot yet access a vaccine.

As of Monday, 393 pre-kindergarten-12 schools and nine universities are reporting new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. Of those, 83 are new outbreaks reported Monday.

According to the state’s outbreak reporting data, K-12 schools make up more than 50% of the state’s total new outbreaks and 52% of the state’s total ongoing outbreaks. 

DHHS reported Friday that a total of 1,081,525 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 21,563 have died from the virus — an additional 8,297 cases and 104 deaths since Wednesday.

The new numbers combine Thursday and Friday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 4,149 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The deaths announced include 58 deaths identified during a vital records review. DHHS conducts this review process two times per week.

The DHHS reported Friday an additional 136,498 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 1,405 probable deaths. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5, 

Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 1,209,726 statewide cases and 22,864 deaths.

The virus has been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate is currently at 2%.

As of Oct. 8 the state reports that 945,175 people have recovered from COVID-19.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10, 2020. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

Johns Hopkins University reports that there are about 239.9 million confirmed cases worldwide and 4.88 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 44.8 million confirmed cases and 722,903 deaths have been recorded nationally.

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Anna Gustafson
Anna Gustafson

Anna Gustafson is a former assistant editor at Michigan Advance, where her beats included economic justice, health care and immigration. Previously the founder of the Muskegon Times and the editor at Rapid Growth Media in Grand Rapids, Anna has worked as an editor and reporter for news outlets across the country.