Michigan reports 256 new coronavirus cases as more testing kits become available

click to enlarge Michigan reports 256 new coronavirus cases as more testing kits become available

The number of coronavirus cases in Michigan dramatically rose to 336, with 256 new cases reported Thursday.

The significant increase comes as the state and private labs obtain more testing kits.

Wayne County was hit the hardest, with 96 new cases, followed by Oakland County, with 82 new cases. Macomb County had 45 new cases.

Other counties with new cases were Clinton (1), Eaton (2), Genesee (1), Ingham (4), Isabella (1), Kent (2), Livingston (1), Midland (1), Monroe (1), St. Clair (2), and Wasthenaw (7). Ten cases did not have a county listed.

The state's first fatalities came Wednesday, when three people who tested positive for the coronavirus died.

With a testing shortage, the number of cases is likely much higher because most sick people are unable to get tested. So far, the state and private labs have conducted 2,449 tests.

When people are tested, the results now take up to 72 hours.

“We are pleased to announce that we are now able to provide testing results from hospitals and other entities outside of our state laboratory,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health in Michigan, says in a news release. “We knew there were additional people in Michigan with COVID-19 that had not yet been tested. This emphasizes the need to continue to practice social distancing and other community mitigation practices to help slow the spread of this disease.”

But Khaldun cautioned Wednesday that until a sufficient number of testing kits become available, “we are not going to be able to understand comprehensively how many people actually have the disease.”

The Trump administration botched the rollout of testing kits and is scrambling to provide states with the supplies they need. In the meantime, Michigan is trying to get additional testing kits from the World Health Organization.

Earlier this week, Henry Ford, Beaumont health systems and other private labs began testing.

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