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Michigan officials recommend antibody therapy to drive down COVID-19 hospitalizations amid surge

Posted at 7:35 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 19:35:47-04

In the past six days, Michigan has added 31,446 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 756,564.

As COVID-19 numbers across the state continue to soar, Michigan continues to identify thousands of cases of a new more infectious variant and more than 1,000 new outbreaks.

“Including new outbreaks in K-12 schools, manufacturing and construction, long term care, childcare, retail restaurants and bars,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in Wednesday’s briefing.

Right here in mid-Michigan counties, cases are up 68 percent from last week. Clinton County identified 183 new cases, Eaton County tacked on 399 new cases. Jackson County saw 759 new cases, and Ingham County has identified 892 new cases since April 6.

April 6 - April 14 COVID Cases by County

State officials are asking all Michiganders who test positive for COVID-19 to consider antibody therapy treatments to help drive down hospitalizations.

Two monoclonal antibody therapy treatments now recommended in the state of Michigan are Regeneron and Eli Lilly antibody therapies. These therapies are recommended for Michiganders 12 years and older who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“The treatments by Regeneron and Eli Lilly could keep you out of the hospital and save your life. And drugs like Remdesivir can limit the number of days you stay in the hospital,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

“Data from early trials suggest a 70 percent reduction in hospitalizations or death in high-risk patients treated with these monoclonal antibodies,” Khaldun said.

Michigan’s hospitals are once again overwhelmed by the virus. Some hospitals have experienced a six-fold increase in coronavirus patients admitted.

COVID-19 hospitalizations
FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021 file photo, nurses transfer a sixteen-year-old patient suffering from COVID-19 into the ICU at the La Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France. COVID-19 patients occupy 88% of the Marseille region's intensive care beds, and virus pressure on French hospitals is steadily rising in recent weeks despite curfews and other restrictions. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, File)

“This week we surpassed the COVID-19 hospitalization rates we saw in the fall,” Khaldun said.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel is taking criticism for a trip to Alabama last week as the COVID-19 situation escalated here in Michigan.

“I’m not going to get distracted by partisan hit jobs on my team. There have never been travel restrictions in Michigan. There just haven’t. What we have done is ask people to be smart,” Whitmer said.

Despite the surge in cases, the governor said she will not be enforcing any additional restrictions. She’s calling on Michiganders to continue to follow the statewide mask mandate and capacity restrictions on indoor gatherings.

“It’s not a question of whether or not the policy is the right policy, it’s really more of a testament to the fact that we have combining issues,” Whitmer said.

Among those issues, she said, are the more transmissible variant, lack of compliance, and a large number of Michiganders who have never been exposed to the virus.

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