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

Posted at 6:12 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 06:12:21-05

ROYAL OAK, MI (WXYZ) — Michigan is in the thick of the battle against COVID-19. On Tuesday morning, nearly 4,600 adults and nearly 100 children were positive for the virus and occupied hospital beds.

The state reached a record for hospitalized adults with the virus despite Omicron appearing to be less severe. Beaumont Health System had their second-highest number ever of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 only behind the surge of April 2020.

"It's translating to a smaller percentage of patients but we have a larger pool of patients contracting omicron, so it could potentially be more than we saw with Delta," Director of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Elizabeth Hertel said.

According to the state's models, the peak has still not been reached. Hertel says cases will continue to climb for at least the next 2 to 3 weeks

"I think people need to be prepared to see our case rates increase significantly over the next 10 days," she said.

Dr. Matthew Sims, Director of Infectious Disease Research with Beaumont Health says Omicron continues to spread unlike any previous variant.

"The system is at its breaking point," he said. "At this point, a little more and it's going to tip over."

Dr. Sims says since every patient at the hospital is tested for COVID, even those with mild symptoms hospitalized for other reasons. They count anyone who comes back positive as a hospitalized COVID patient.

On Fox News Sunday, CDC Director Rochelle Walnesky said the same thing.

"In some hospitals that we've talked to up to 40% of the patients who are coming in with COVID are coming in not because they're sick with COVID but because they're coming in with something else," she said.

Even though some patients are not sick because of COVID they do require more care and isolation due to the infection, which again is more work for hospitals that are already short-staffed.

Dr. Sims is encouraging everyone to get the vaccine and booster shot.

"It'll breakthrough, especially if you're not boosted," he said. "You'll get infected, you may even get a little bit of symptoms, but you won't get that sick."