Top Henry Ford Health doctor worried about Michigan COVID-19 deaths rising in near future

Dr. Adnan Munkarah says Michigan averaging around 50 COVID-19 deaths per day recently

Top Henry Ford Health doctor worried about Michigan COVID-19 deaths rising in near future

DETROIT – Michigan announced 8,516 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, smashing the previous single-day record by more than 1,500 cases.

The state also reported 118 new deaths, including 83 from a Vital Records review.

A week ago Friday, Michigan reported 3,700 new cases, so the total has more than double. The fast-moving spread of the virus isn’t letting up despite dire warnings from experts and hospital leaders.

Experts are urging anyone who will listen to stay home and stay safe, but the message simply doesn’t appear to be getting through to Michigan residents.

Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford Health top doctor, is worried about the possibility of COVID-19 deaths jumping.

“From a national data perspective, we’ve had close to 1,200 deaths in the past 24 hours,” Munkarah said. “In Michigan, we are seeing almost 50 deaths per day over the last week. Definitely very sobering data, and we continue to pray and hope that we will make some headway and try to stop both the spread of the disease and deaths related to this disease.”

In recent weeks, the rate of people testing positive has risen from around 3% to 13%. A shortage in testing supplies is also becoming an issue nationally and in Michigan.

“In fact, in 100% of our testing, we weren’t getting back the results within 24 hours,” Munkarah said. “This has now extended to about 36 to 46 hours because of that supply shortage.”

Now, 23% of COVID-19 patients are in Henry Ford’s intensive care units, which have reached 80%-90% capacity. That’s a major concern for health officials.

The number of ventilators isn’t currently a concern because of what doctors have learned about treating COVID-19 over the life of this pandemic.

“In the spring, that belief at that time was that everybody needs to go on the ventilator early because it provides a better outcome,” Munkarah said. “We have learned that this is not the case, and accordingly, we are intervening with medical interventions, including high oxygen therapy before a patient is put on a ventilator.”

Doctors at Henry Ford Health System are very excited about another potential vaccine they’re working on, which is in addition to the Pfizer vaccine that has looked promising.

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.