Governor Whitmer provides update on omicron and rise in COVID cases

Outlines steps to stay safe from the variants
Posted at 9:33 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 10:55:43-05

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer provided an update on the uptick in omicron variant cases and overall COVID spread in Michigan on Tuesday.

She addressed Michiganders in a press conference at the Hispanic Center in Grand Rapids.

Governor Whitmer stated that hospitals across the state are stretched thin and nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists are at the brink overwhelmed with COVID patients.

The majority of hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated, according to health experts.


Whitmer also addressed the rise in cases and urged the unvaccinated population to get vaccinated and boosted to prevent becoming infected by the omicron and Delta variants.

“This is not a game. This is not about ratings or leaderships or polls. This is about 800,000 American lives and this is preventable,“ said Whitmer. "Trust me now, trust this vaccine.”

Whitmer outlined ways to protect yourself during the next few weeks which she indicated could be tough in Michigan related to the virus.

Here are the steps she outlined:

  1. Get vaccinated and get the booster
  2. Everyone should wear a mask in indoor and outdoor crowded settings 
  3. Get tested, even before gatherings 
  4. Stay home if you’re sick with COVID-19 or any other respiratory illness

Health experts stated that even if you are fully-vaccinated you can still get COVID and spread it but it reduces your risk of being hospitalized.

Director Elizabeth Hertel from Health and Human Services also spoke at the briefing.

"Today, we remain at a critical point in the pandemic," said Hertel.

"This surge is severe. COVID-19 visits and longer hospitalizations is pushing our system and our healthcare workers to the brink."

Director Hertel also commented on wait times and procedures that are on hold due to hospitals being overwhelmed with both COVID and non-COVID patients.

"If you need emergency care, you should seek it. However, to illustrate the severity of the situation, emergency room wait times have increased dramatically in some parts of the state."

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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