Two new cases of Omicron found in Michigan, health officials concerned about spread during holidays

Posted at 9:36 AM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 09:39:37-05

(WXYZ) — Two new Omicron cases have been confirmed in Michigan and the new variant is spreading rapidly across the U.S.

The new cases were found in Genesse County and the county's health department says both are adults between 18 and 64 who recently traveled into the U.S..

Neither person is hospitalized.

Omicron is now in at least 36 states and the CDC says cases have been doubling every two days.

And with Christmas just over a week away, the CDC is predicting weekly COVID-19 cases will jump as much as 55-percent by Christmas day.

Dr. Jacquie Pflaum-Carlson, an ER and critical care doctor at Henry Ford says she's seeing the impacts of low vaccination rates every day.

"It's so heartbreaking to walk them down this path of death," she said.

State health department data shows that 76% of recent COVID deaths, were among Michiganders who were not fully vaccinated.

"Although the vast majority of cases continue to be Delta, representing about 96 percent of cases across the country, the Omicron variant is now estimated to represent about three percent of cases in the United States," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.

Health experts say the answer is vaccination.

"The majority of the patients that I've talked to who are sick with COVID who did not get vaccinated have one regret. And it's not getting vaccinated," Dr. Pflaum-Carlson said.

Initial data suggest getting a booster shot may offer substantially more protection against Omicron.

And a recent study from South Africa shows that while the variant seems to spread more easily, generally patients are less sick.

"But we need to be careful with that information and with that data," Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer Adnan Munkarah said. "Because their patient population is a younger population."