Risk level for COVID-19 spread increases in 4 Michigan regions

Screenshot from mistartmap.info

State officials have increased the official risk level for the spread of COVID-19 in several regions throughout Michigan this week. 

The Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City region went from "low risk" to "medium risk"; the Detroit region went from "medium risk" to "med-high risk"; and the Grand Rapids region went from "med-high risk" to "high risk". 

Officials say on the MI Start Map website that the Grand Rapids region increased after three weeks of increased cases. The Detroit region increased based on case rate and percent positivity increases over the last three weeks. The Traverse City and Upper Peninsula regions have also seen increased case rates and testing positivity. 

The Lansing, Saginaw, Kalamazoo and Jackson regions all stayed at the same risk level.  

Saginaw, Kalamazoo and Jackson are in "medium risk" and the Lansing region is in "high risk." 

"Although the Lansing Region case rates have decreased in the last week, the region remains High risk level," the website reads. "The Kalamazoo and Jackson Regions are at the Medium risk level. However, data from both regions indicates they may increase in risk level shortly. Case rates and testing positivity have declined in the Saginaw Region over the past week."

The risk map is different from the MI Safe Start plan. Determinations of risk levels are made for entire regions, based on individual indicators and other epidemiologic information. Individual indicators, also shown on the website, are computed for counties as well as regions.

Although there are both 6 risk levels and 6 phases in the MI Safe Start plan, changing a region's risk level does not change their phase in the MI Safe Start plan. 

Right now six of Michigan's regions are in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan, and the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City region are in Phase 5. 

Gov. Whitmer had said her hope was to progress the whole state into Phase 5 by the July 4 weekend but increasing cases kept her from doing so. She also closed indoor service at bars last week after several had been linked to a growing number of cases.

She also most recently said in an interview on CNN that the state may have to 'dial back' reopening even more as COVID-19 cases rise.

Gov. Whitmer has called a press conference for Thursday, July 9 at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the state's response efforts to COVID-19. You can watch live with FOX 2 on TV and online at fox2detroit.com/live