Health officials show confidence in tools to combat COVID-19 as cases begin to increase

Posted at 7:14 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 19:14:34-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Cases of COVID-19 may be on the rise, but health officials say vaccinations, boosters and antiviral medications can help give confidence in combating severe illness.

"If your test is positive and you do have a COVID infection, you should let your doctor know. And that's because we now have very good treatments available," said Dr. Laraine Washer, an epidemiologist at Michigan Medicine.

Specialists in infectious disease say antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies can help decrease the risk of dying or even being hospitalized.

Scientists with Henry Ford Health have been performing genome sequencing, which allows them to monitor mutations with coronavirus, so they can prepare for the next wave of COVID-19.

Their lab tests show that from December 2021 and March 2022, the BA.2 variant taking over in the spread of new cases.

And it may be time for some people to consider enhancing their safety measures.

"If you have any risk factors for severe COVID, things such as immunocompromised, obesity, chronic liver, lung, kidney disease, it's easy enough to wear that mask and if you're at high risk, I would recommend it," said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, medical director for Infection Prevention at Henry Ford Health.

In Washtenaw County, they are recording 100 to 200 COVID-19 cases a day, which is right up there with some other surges, according to Susan Ringler Cerniglia, a spokesperson for the health department.

Ringler Cerniglia urges people to talk to their doctor about antiviral medications now to be prepared if you should later test positive for COVID-19.

"You can talk to your primary care doctor, you can talk to an urgent care doctor and really figure out how you would access that," she said, adding that doing it early is important.

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