Nearly 700 Henry Ford employees test positive for COVID as hospitalization rates increase

Test positivity rate now 41.8%

Henry Ford Health says COVID hospitalizations are up 25% over last week.

DETROIT – The omicron variant is spreading across Michigan and local hospitals are feeling the impact.

Henry Ford Health System said their test positivity rate is now 41.8%. Doctors within the health system said the next few weeks will be extremely difficult.

“We are bracing for one of the bleakest months yet we have faced throughout this pandemic,” Henry Ford’s chief clinical officer Dr. Adnan Munkarah said. “Unfortunately we are starting to see the effects of the holiday curve and the fast spreading omicron variant.”

Munkarah said COVID hospitalizations are climbing.

“As of this morning we have 480 patients hospitalized with COVID across our hospitals. That’s a 25% increase compared to the past week,” Munkarah said.

Henry Ford reports 65% of those hospitalized COVID patients have not received any doses of the vaccines. The tracking finds they are seeing benefits from the booster.

“95% of our patients who are hospitalized with COVID or those who are in the ICU have not gotten their booster vaccine. So it is clear that the vaccine continue to be protective and it is also clear that the booster seemed to have a significant effect in protecting people from going to the hospital,” Munkarah said.

The rapid spread of omicron is also limiting the hospital’s availability to give patients monoclonal antibodies.

“Not all the monoclonal antibodies that have been approved by the FDA work against omicron which has led to supply shortages” Dr. Dennis Cunningham said. “We are down to our last 30 doses of monoclonal antibodies today.”

Cunningham is the director of infection control for Henry Ford. The hospital system is urging everyone to get vaccinated and get their children age 5 and older vaccinated too.

“The more we can get people vaccinated if they have not, the more we can get people boosted, these numbers will come down,” Cunningham said.

686 Henry Ford Health employees test positive for COVID

Henry Ford Health said around 686 employees have tested positive for COVID and are unable to work right now, that’s about 2% the total number of staff.

Sick workers are required to quarantine for seven days after their first symptoms but if staffing gets any worse the health system will drop that down to five days as per CDC guidance.

Officials with Henry Ford said 686 employees have tested positive for COVID.

About the Authors:

Kimberly Gill joined the Local 4 News team in November 2014. She was named Personality of the Year in 2009 by the Ohio Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. She’s also a two-time Emmy winner.

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.