GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan is currently the second-leading state in the country for B.1.1.7., the COVID-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom. Nationwide, there are more than 12,000 cases. Michigan accounts for about 10 percent of those variant cases, second in line to Florida.
With many Michiganders traveling for spring break, health officials remain concerned as cases continue to spike and as people travel to areas that are considered hot spots for the more contagious variants, such as B.1.1.7.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every state has identified at least one case of one of the main variants surfacing right now, including the variants from Brazil and South Africa.
"I’m concerned about the way it looks right now and then over the next two, three, four weeks because we're seeing more people in the hospital. We're seeing sick people in the hospital too," said Dr. Del DeHart, medical director for infection prevention at Metro Health.
At this time, data seems to indicate that the vaccine is effective against the known variants. Doctors are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated when it is their turn.
"The more people that are vaccinated and the fewer cases, the less likely we're going to have other mutants occur," said Dr. DeHart.
The state health lab tests randomly for variants, as well as samples they suspect may contain variants. It is unclear exactly how many cases there are, since testing is not done on every single COVID sample.