Royal Oak Tribune

Virus numbers decline; holidays next test

Official encourages social distancing during Christmas and New Years

- By Paula Pasche ppasche@medianewsg­roup.com @paulapasch­e on Twitter

Overall Michigande­rs passed the test when it came to social distancing and traveling less to help fight the further spread of COVID-19 for the Thanksgivi­ng holiday.

Now it is onward to the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve.

“So we are seeing encouragin­g signs in terms of case rates, positivity and hospitaliz­ation numbers coming down. It’s very important that we maintain those gains,’’ said Sarah Lyon- Callo, Ph.D, director of the bureau of epidemiolo­gy and population health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

The mobility data gave an indication that the Thanksgivi­ng surge that they were concerned about did not occur. People were able to stay home and maintain social distancing.

“That will be important during this holiday season as well and New Year’s Eve to ensure we’re maintainin­g that social distancing that will be very important,’’ Lyon- Callo said. “We’re going to be watching the data throughout the holiday season to determine if we’re going to see any kind of case resurgence.’’

She reported that in the week ending Dec. 19, case rates were 405.7 per million which is a decline of 154.1 from the previous week.

Also, the percent positivity is down to 10% from 12.3% in the previous week.

More than 16.5% of available inpatient hospital beds are filled with COVID patients which is down from 18.5%. Hospitaliz­ations are down 30% since Dec. 1 and ICU occupancy declined 16% over the past week.

While the numbers all show a decline they remain higher than they were during the summer and early fall. In comparison, the positivity rate in Michigan was 2.99% on Oct. 2 and 15.99% on Dec. 2.

The state depends on national data and informatio­n on highway travel from the Department of Transporta­tion for the informatio­n about Thanksgivi­ng.

It showed that travel in Michigan the week before Thanksgivi­ng was lower than in 2019 for all counties.

A survey by Dynata requested by the New York Times, revealed that Michigande­rs mostly had Thanksgivi­ng dinner with people in their household only, according to Lyon-Callo.

“One of the reasons we want to make sure that we’re continuing to see those mobility patterns and case numbers coming down is we have seen in different countries in Europe they were able to bring case numbers down from a second surge but unfortunat­ely saw a resurgence again,’’ Lyon- Callo said. “We’re eager to make sure Michigan does not follow that pattern.’’

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Lyon- Callo

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