How Wayne County is coping with surging COVID-19

Posted at 6:40 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 22:34:45-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan is dealing with surging COVID-19 numbers as we enter into the holiday season.

We're looking at how the state's biggest county, Wayne County, is coping with the new surge in tonight's 7 UpFront segment.

The county's Chief Health Strategist Dr. Mouhanad Hammami is joining us to talk about their efforts.

You can see the entire interview in the video player above.

"It has been always our strategy to test, detect, prevent, and be prepared. so we have increased our capacity in preparation for this surge," Hammami says.

He says this includes being prepared for increasing drive-thru testing to aid communities that may not have access to COVID-19 testing. They have also contracted with facilities to further increase testing.

"We believe that his strategy is going to help us in identifying cases at an early stage, and certainly then try to detect it and contact trace it," Hammami says.

"One specific thing we are working on with the health systems is preparing for the vaccine that all of us are aware might be coming our way," he says. "Hopefully in mid-December, or by the end of December. So, a lot to understand. What is the capacity of health systems distributing those vaccines? Who are the targeted population that we should prioritize? And what would be the role of the health department in identifying those that are at risk and contributing to that."

"We know that these measures work. And we know they are the reason that we saw that dip in early May," Hammami says. "So, certainly, the three things are going to be the physical distancing, we are not calling it social distancing, we still want people to be social, but we certainly want them to be at a physical distance from each other. Certainly, the face-covering and the masking is something that have been proven to minimize the spread and this is what we want to do. And, finally, using common sense and the hand washing and the disinfectants and the hygiene. And we know that this is hard, especially as we are getting to the holiday season and a lot of families want to get together, and we want to have grandma and grandpa over the table and all that. But this is the least we can do to protect them. We need to make sure, especially our senior population and our elderly are protected. So for this holiday season, we are encouraging everyone to minimize the family gatherings they can have to, at minimum, only a household or two households that have been what the state is calling podding."

"Certainly, our recommendation is to remain in a very limited circle," he says.