It turns out Michigan is a lot closer to hitting the first milestone of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Vacc to Normal plan than what the state data had been indicating.

The state released a Vacc to Normal tracker tonight that shows 54% of Michiganders have initiated their vaccinations. When the state hits 55%, Whitmer said in-person work would again be allowed for all sectors of business after two weeks have passed.

The state said its usual dashboard, which as of May 7 shows 51.5% had begun vaccinations, “slightly undercounts the true number of doses” given to Michigan residents.

The new tracker includes Michigan residents who were vaccinated out-of-state as well as in-state to get at a more “comprehensive” look at the state’s inoculation rate.

The newest tracker, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, includes Michiganders vaccinated by providers not currently reporting to the state’s usual dashboard, such as Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, Bureau of Prisons, and most out-of-state providers.

The inclusion of out-of-state data in the Vacc to Normal campaign comes after several GOP lawmakers representing border counties asked the governor to do just that.

Whitmer had predicted April 29 the state could reach the 55% mark by May 7. At the time, the percentage of those who had been partially vaccinated was 48%, and it had gone to just over 50% as of April 29 and then 51.5% May 7, according to the old dashboard.

According to the state’s usual dashboard, 41.4% of Michigan residents have completed their vaccinations.

State Up To 8K+ COVID Variant Cases

Michigan is up to 8,193 confirmed COVID-19 vases attributed to variants, although that number isn’t available for public view.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provided a county-by-county case count of coronavirus variants upon request, but DHHS spokesperson Chelsea Wuth said “we don’t have plans to add it to the website at this time.”

The 7,764 cases tied to the B.1.1.7 variant—also known as the United Kingdom variant—make that the most common variant in the state.

The 195 cases associated with the B.1.429 variant—also known as the California variant—is the next largest category, followed by the 121 cases of the P.1 variant, or the Brazilian variant.

Meanwhile, the state added another 2,758 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths, to bring cumulative totals to 860,808 cases and 18,084 deaths.

DHHS Relaxes Testing Requirement For Fully Vaxed Nursing Home Staff

Fully vaccinated staff at nursing homes no longer need to get a COVID-19 swab jammed up their nose on a routine basis, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said May 7.

The DHHS revised an epidemic order covering testing in long-term care facilities to reflect the current guidance from the federal government. The order, effective immediately, covers fully vaccinated staff for skilled nursing facilities, homes for the aged and adult foster care facilities licensed to care for 13 or more individuals.

Testing is still required for other circumstances, such as newly hired staff when the individual is unvaccinated and has not been tested in the 72 hours prior to intake or start date, as well as weekly testing for all unvaccinated staff, according to DHHS.

This story courtesy of MIRS, a Lansing-based news and information service.