MI health officials provide COVID-19 update amid record cases & hospitalizations

Posted at 7:25 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 18:16:03-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan's top health officials provided an update on COVID-19 amid a record number of cases and hospitalizations.

MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS Chief Medical Execuive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian and Dr. Lauren Yagiela, a pediatric critical care physician at Children's Hospital, spoke during the update.

The number of weekly cases is 129, 937. The positivity rate is 33.2%. Those are at an all-time high. 20-30-year-olds are the highest number of hospitalizations and state officials say they are the group less likely to get vaccinated.

“We're heading toward what will likely be a very sharp crest in this wave of cases,” said MDHSS Director Elizabeth Hertel.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian added, “This is a very dangerous time for us, and this is not what we want to see with cases exploding the way they are. It's much safer if we rely on vaccine and mediated immunity rather than everyone coming down with COVID in January and February of 2022 and putting our health care systems at risk.”

During the Zoom news conference, the doctor used graphs that show the surge this year compared to last year is not dropping off after the holidays.

Testing continues to be a challenge with some people waiting for hours and rapid Antigen tests that can be used at home are in short supply. They may also be less accurate with Omicron but Dr. Bagdasarian says that does not mean don’t use them and rely on them, “it doesn't take away these tests are still a phenomenal tool in our toolkit and still deserve to be used. It just means that a negative test doesn't absolutely guarantee that someone doesn't have COVID And isn't going to develop profit in the next few days,” Dr. Bagdasarian said.

Dr. Lauren Yagiela says the number of cases involving kids is also setting a record, “ we are experiencing the highest number of COVID Positive admissions to the hospital. And the pediatric ICU since the beginning of the pandemic.”

The good news, Dr. Yagiela says, “the majority of the children who contract COVID have a mild illness that can be cared for at home. However, a small portion of children can develop serious and life-threatening illness related to COVID and can require admission to the hospital including the pediatric ICU.”

The state is sending testing supplies to schools for students, teachers, staff, and parents and Director Hertel says, “to make sure these kids are vaccinated as well as teachers. They're masking and following the protocols that have been laid out then I think schools should safely remain in person if they can.”

On Monday, Michigan set a record for adults hospitalized with COVID-19, according to new data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Bagdasarian outlined models that paint a grim couple of weeks ahead for Michigan amid an omicron surge.

Those models predict the peak of the surge could come at the end of January, and the most pessimistic model shows hospitalizations could reach around 8,000 in Michigan.

Related: 'I think people need to be prepared.' Omicron peak still weeks away health officials say

Michigan reported 4,580 adults hospitalized with COVID-19. The previous record was 4,518 adults set on Dec. 13. Another 321 adults are hospitalized with suspected cases of COVID-19.

The hospitalization record comes just days after the state set a record for new cases, averaging over 20,000 new cases per day on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

There are also 94 children hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and another 14 children hospitalized with suspected cases.

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