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Michigan sees worrying spike in Covid-19 cases as state prepares to open mass vaccination site




Alabama (+ 90%), Delaware (+ 52%) and Michigan (+ 50%) are among the states that have witnessed the biggest rises, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In Michigan, cases have been on the rise since the last week of February and the state has reported the second highest number of cases of variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK.

These points come as Michigan prepares to deploy the state’s largest mass vaccination site at Ford Field in Detroit.

On Thursday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state leaders took the lead at Ford Field to announce that the site – scheduled to open on March 24 and managed with the support of the Federal Agency for Management Emergencies – will have the capacity to manage 6,000 shots daily.

“We’re in the fourth quarter of this pandemic fight. It’s not over yet. It’s not time to take up football,” Whitmer said. “It’s time we grit our teeth and keep doing the work we have to do until the last second of this event is over. If we want to get back to normal … we all need to get vaccinated, encourage our loved ones to and friends, co-workers and neighbors to do so. “

Dr. Jennifer Morse, medical director of the Mid-Michigan District Department of Health, hopes the opening of the clinic will help curb the spread of the virus statewide.

Morse said there is a long list of factors contributing to the rise in cases in Michigan.

One example, he said, is the recent recovery of certain restrictions.

Whitmer eased restrictions earlier this month, raising capacity limits in restaurants, shops and gyms from 25% to 50%, with a maximum capacity of 100 people per venue.

Whitmer told CNN earlier this month that his state has made a lot of progress against the virus, but that they will remain “science-bound” while restrictions are reduced.

Morse said the restrictions have led to misuse of the mask. He also said news of emerging vaccines led people to believe he could relax some of his hygiene habits, such as wearing masks.

Morse told CNN that an outbreak of Covid-19 at a prison in Ionia County and variant B.1.1.7 have also fueled the recent wave.

The Michiganders are also starting to travel further, approaching levels not seen before the pandemic, Morse said, a statement backed by data from the Transport Office.

Morse, who noted that the state has administered more than three million doses of vaccine, said he fears that progress can be reversed to fight the virus if the trend of increasing cases continues.

“My only hope is that we’ve been vaccinating very aggressively and we’ve been working pretty well on the different vaccination categories,” Morse said. “And my hope is that this will help prevent (cases) from going up as blatantly as they did in the fall.”

Michigan Gov. Garlin Gilchrist shared that hope during Thursday’s announcement at Ford Field.

“At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Detroit was one of the American epicenters of cases and deaths. And as a Detroit, I personally felt it after I fired 27 people because of this virus,” Gilchrist said. who added that the Ford Field site will allocate 1,000 vaccines daily to mobile vaccine units throughout southeast Michigan. “The virus hit our city hard, but Michiganders is hard. We can come together to fight Covid-19.”

CNN’s Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.