Michigan’s chief medical officer shares insight as COVID omicron variant surges

‘It’s certainly a concerning trend,’ she says

Michigan reported the highest daily COVID case total in Michigan since the start of the pandemic.

DETROIT – Michigan reported the highest daily COVID case total in Michigan since the start of the pandemic.

The state said there were 27,346 new cases of COVID-19 and 277 virus-related deaths Wednesday -- a record average of 13,673 cases over the past two days.

Read more: Michigan reports 27,346 new COVID cases, 277 deaths -- record average of 13,673 cases per day

Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge spent some time on Wednesday talking with Michigan’s chief medical officer, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian to get her take on the trends being seen in Michigan and across the nation.

She reflected on the trend we’ve been seeing. McGeorge said Wednesday’s numbers are completely consistent with the omicron spike we’re currently in and while it may be true that overall omicron doesn’t cause severe illness as often, the case numbers are still translating into an overwhelming number of patients in the ER and hospital.

“For everyone who’s following the numbers, not only in Michigan, but around the country, I think it’s certainly a concerning trend and when we look at some of our neighbors -- especially some of our East Coast neighbors -- it tells us what may be yet to come,” Bagdasarian.

Bagdasarian said Michigan’s situation is very serious.

“This is concerning. What we have been seeing so far has been our delta variant surge. We are now starting to see our omicron surge,” Bagdasarian said.

Read: Don’t visit hospital emergency rooms for COVID-19 test, Michigan health officials urge

Given surging cases, some people have been critical of schools not going virtual. Bagdasarian believes it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.

“I think that schools, school districts and local health departments have to make decisions that make sense locally so they have to take into account what’s happening locally as well as what mitigation strategies they have been able to implement,” Bagdasarian said. “We really believe that schools should be one of the last places to close down and one of the first places to open.”

To keep schools and other vital sectors open, we need to work together.

“We’re in a really critical time for our state. We went into this omicron surge in a bad place. We went into this with hospitals really over capacity and asking for help. We’ve had to ask for help from our federal partners already. So, we’re going into this in a really bad place,” she said. “Now is really the time for us to come together as a community.”

Read: Complete Michigan COVID coverage

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.