Michigan is 'now at our peak' when it comes to daily new COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke for the first time in more than a month Wednesday on the state of COVID-19 in Michigan

Gov. Whitmer said that since the Supreme Court struck down her executive orders, the state has seen a steady rise of COVID cases and hospitalizations. She said the state is now at our peak when it comes to daily new cases, and that the peak is higher than what we saw in April.

Because of this, she urged everyone to continue following cautionary safety practices such as wearing masks, keeping your distance and washing your hands. 

"You don't need an executive order or a court to know what it is we need to do in this moment. The good news is that we know what it's going to take. We've done this," she said. "We crushed the curve in the spring when we wear a mask, when we maintain six feet of physical distancing, when we wash our hands frequently."

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun also spoke at the press conference and gave more context to the daily case rates in regions across the state. 

Overall, the case rate in Michigan is 131 cases per million people per day, which Dr. Khaldun said is over 80% more than the daily case rate was just one month ago. An average of more than 35,000 tests are being conducted daily in the state right now, with an overall percent positive rate of 4.9%. 

Dr. Khaldun says that percent positive rate indicates that community spread is happening. She has previously stated that a percent positivity rate of 3% and below indicates community spread is not happening. 

The Upper Peninsula is currently seeing 337 cases per million people per day with a percent positive rate of 9.3%. 

The Kalamazoo region is currently seeing 221 cases per million people per day with a percent positive rate of 6.7%. 

The Grand Rapids region is currently seeing 155 cases per million people per day with a percent positive rate of 4.6%. 

The Detroit, Saginaw, Lansing and Jackson regions all have more than 70 but less than 150 cases per million people per day, with percent positive rates between 2.6% and 4.4%. 

The Traverse City region continues to have the lowest case rate, with 62 cases per million people per day. The percent positive rate is hovering around 3%, but Dr. Khaldun said the case rate and percent positive rate there have been increasing over the past two weeks. 

Dr. Khaldun also said all regions are seeing an increase in hospitalizations. 

She said on average, 8% of all hospitalizations right now across Michigan are for COVID-19 - and that 58% of the hospitalizations are outside of southeast Michigan, where the greatest bed capacity is in the state. 

Deaths are also slowly increasing. Dr. Khaldun said the 7-day average a month ago was nine deaths per day. As of Oct. 18, she said that the 7-day average has now risen to 15 deaths per day.

Dr. Khaldun said local health departments are also beginning to see outbreaks in religious settings. But, overall, the most common settings for outbreaks continue to be long-term care facilities, educational settings and social gatherings. 

Both Gov. Whitmer and Dr. Khaldun also urged all Michiganders to get a flu shot as we head into the upcoming flu season.

Gov. Whitmer also addressed the upcoming election and urged Michiganders who are voting absentee to hand-deliver your ballot at this point in person at a dropbox or your city's clerk's office to ensure the ballot arrives on time.