Monday marks a big day in Michigan's ongoing battle against COVID-19. All Michiganders 50 and up, plus those 16 and up with disabilities or pre-existing conditions, are now eligible for their shot.
The expansion comes as Michigan's COVID-19 cases are trending in the wrong direction.
On Saturday, more than 2,600 new cases were reported along with 47 new deaths.
Michigan is now No. 4 nationwide for our case count and No. 2 when it comes to variants, second only to Florida.
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist will be touring the mass vaccination site at Ford Field with other lawmakers, including Sen. Gary Peters and Rep. Debbie Dingell, on Monday, ahead of its opening on Wednesday.
“Given the fact that we are seeing this surge in Michigan and transmission of the variant, it’s extremely important that we vaccinate as many individuals as possible," DMC Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. eena Chopra said.
For the past two weeks in Michigan, the COVID-19 case positivity rate has climbed. It's at 6.2%. Hospitalizations are also up for the past two weeks with 4.9% of inpatient beds filled with COVID-19 patients.
“Many of the cases we are seeing are related to outbreaks. The number of outbreaks in the state increased 9 percent from the previous week to 645," MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said.
Many of those outbreaks are linked to K-12 schools, and for the first time since the state started tracking outbreaks, those in schools exceeded those in nursing homes.
The silver lining, the state said, is that Michigan has been effective in vaccinating nursing home residents in staff.
Cases have increased most for those 10-19, according to state data, but they're up more than 70% across all age groups.
“So that we can achieve that herd immunity of 70 to 80% of our population as fast as possible because that will minimize.. gives less time to the virus to mutate and develop more variants," Chopra said.
The message from health experts across the state is to get vaccinated as quickly after you become eligible.