Northern Michigan County is now at a high level of COVID; residents there should wear a mask, CDC says

Grand Traverse County in northwest Michigan is now at an elevated level of COVID-19, which means there is potential for strain on the health care system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the United States.

Residents should wear masks indoors and in public and on public transportation, and people at high risk of serious illness should consider taking extra precautions, the CDC advises.

Michigan hasn’t had a county high since March, and many have long since stopped wearing face coverings at school, grocery stores and other crowded places. As the omicron’s winter swell subsided, the CDC adjusted its assessment in February, looking at data from regional hospitals instead of just new cases per capita or percentages of positive tests.

Grand Traverse County had 12 new admissions of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days ending Tuesday, May 3. It also recorded more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, during 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 this week went from low green to yellow. Washtenaw and Oakland counties remain yellow. Southeast Michigan has been hardest hit by the state’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases, but most areas are seeing increases. Marquette County and the small county of Keweenaw in the Upper Peninsula were also upgraded this week from low to medium levels.

Only at the orange level does the CDC recommend people wear masks. People with symptoms, testing positive, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask regardless of where they live, according to the CDC.

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

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Looking at new cases per 100,000 residents 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 close to meeting the high level criteria. 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 overtakes metro Detroit: Michigan COVID data for Thursday, May 5

The northeastern part of the country continues to see the highest daily average of cases per capita. Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey lead the nation. Maine, New York, Vermont, Delaware and Washington, DC also had some of the highest hospitalization rates in the United States.

In Michigan, hospitals were about 79% capacity at the start of this week. Munson Medical Center in Traverse City had about 79% of its beds occupied.

As of Wednesday, hospitals across the state were treating 708 adult 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 patients 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 previous week, 8.8% of tests were positive.

The idea is to dial in prevention strategies when communities are experiencing severe illness and scale them back when the situation is more stable, the CDC said of its community COVID assessments.

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

Michigan has 83 counties and 25 health service areas, three of which extend beyond state lines, according to the CDC.

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