LANSING, Mich. — COVID-19 hospitalizations in Michigan are on the rise, stretching hospital capacity across the state— including here at home.
Officials say the rise is not an indication that the vaccines aren't working but rather a combination of factors.
“Our case rates have picked up steam again. Our percent positivity is going up and hospitalizations are also increasing," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian who serves as chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS.)
"I am very concerned, we're very concerned and the hard things is— and I've said this before, everyone wants this to be behind us but it's just not behind us."
Michigan is in the midst of an increase in COVID-19 cases. On Nov. 8 the state saw over 10,000 new cases. On Nov. 10 Ingham County reported 288 new COVID cases, Eaton County saw 120, and Jackson County recorded an additional 253 cases.
Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vails said there is no one factor driving the uptick.
"It's a combination of things, first of all Delta is much more transmissible,"she said. "And then our vaccine rates on top of that are part of the problem. We really need a higher vaccination rate."
Dr. Bagdasarian said another big worry is the coming flu season.
“One of the things we're concerned about is that where we are at this time now, in 2021, we're at a higher rate of transmission than we were at this time in 2020," she said. "So we're already starting out with a higher level of baseline COVID 19 transmission. Now add on to that we're entering into flu and viral respiratory season.”
Right now hospital systems in mid-Michigan have some beds available, but not many. McLaren Greater Lansing is at 95% bed capacity, Sparrow Health is at 96%, and Henry Ford Allegiance in Jackson has slightly more availability with 85% of their beds full.
Dr. Bagdasarian said this trend isn't an indication that vaccines aren't working— in fact, if we didn't have about 65% of the adult population vaccinated in Michigan, she says the surge would be worse.
“We do have tools this year that we didn't have last year," she said. "One of the reasons why we haven't seen the very sharp rise in cases that we've seen with previous surges. One of the reasons why this has been a more gradual rise in cases is because we have three amazingly effective vaccines and the majority of our population over the age of 16 is now vaccinated."
Health officials' advice to stay healthy and safe have remained the same— get vaccinated, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you're sick. But there's another necessary step as winter sets in, get your flu shot.
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