(WXYZ) — Although Michigan is continuing to see positive trends in key metrics, testing numbers are declining across the state, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said during a press conference Wednesday.
Dr. Khaldun said she is "concerned" those numbers are declining. Last week, the average number of tests was about 35,000 per day; in December, the average was 60,000 tests per day.
"We want everyone who needs or wants a test to be able to get one," she said. "It's the only way we'll be able to track the virus and slow the spread."
Michigan is now at 95 cases per million – this number has been declining over the past six weeks. Additionally, the percent positivity rate, now at 3.5%, continues to trend downward as well.
Dr. Khaldun said testing is an important tool to reopen critical parts of the state. She said tests are also the way officials are going to be able to identify new variants of the virus.
"While we are doing well, our progress is fragile," she said. "We have to make sure we are doing enough tests to identify new cases."
Currently, the state has identified 314 cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant across 19 counties. Dr. Khaldun warned there are possibly more cases.
However, she said the same basic public health measures, including masking and social distancing, slow the spread of the new variants, as well.
Dr. Khaldun said the state has also seen progress on vaccination. More than 1.9 million doses have been administered in the state. Overall, 15.5% of Michiganders over the age of 16 have received at least one dose. The state's goal is to have at least 70% of the population vaccinated.
Additionally, she stressed that the state is actively working to make sure there is equitable access to vaccines after the release of vaccination data on race. Data shows that Black, Hispanic and other ethnic groups are being vaccinated at lower levels than white Americans.
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