Michigan’s chief medical executive says residents should prepare for COVID to come in waves

State sees low average daily case count

Michigan’s chief medical executive says we should prepare for the virus to continue to come in waves. Things appear to be trending in the right direction, and the state is making changes. On Monday (Feb. 28), Michigan reported a three-day total of 1,860 cases and 26 deaths. It breaks down to an average of 620 cases per day. That’s the lowest number since early August.

DETROIT – Michigan’s chief medical executive says residents should prepare for COVID to continue to come in waves.

For now, the numbers appear to be trending in the right direction. The state is making changes. Michigan reported 1,860 new cases of COVID-19 and 26 virus-related deaths Monday -- an average of 620 cases over the past three days. It’s the lowest average daily case count in Michigan since July.

Read: Michigan reports 1,860 new COVID cases, 26 deaths -- average of 620 cases per day

Michigan is dropping the mask mandate for most state employees starting on Thursday. The mask mandate ended for schools in Oakland and Washtenaw counties on Monday (Feb. 28). Detroit public schools say it’s holding off until mid-March before it considers lifting its mask mandate.

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said the state is moving from a response to a recovery phase with the latest wave of COVID cases behind us. But that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. She said we should be ready to start dealing with COVID in cycles as we move forward.

“I really want to convey this idea of it’s not a straight line to the finish. We’re not saying, ‘the pandemic is over,’ but we are conveying that this is a relatively safer time compared to what the last few months have looked like,” Bagdasarian said.

Bagdasarian said the change is being driven by lower case numbers, low hospitalizations and more ways to treat and prevent the spread of the virus. She stresses vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself against the virus.

“If you start out from a place where you are vaccinated and you are effectively using other tools then you have your best chance of protecting yourself from severe outcomes and death. So, it’s not an either or. This should be an and type of scenario,” Bagdasarian said.

The shift has also come under scrutiny after new reporting showing a Democratic strategy firm urged top Democrats to make the kind of changes Michigan is seeing now. When asked, Bagdasarian says she doesn’t mix politics and public health.

“My background is as an infectious disease physician and as an infectious disease epidemiologist and so none of the advice or recommendations that I’m giving to the people of Michigan, or that I’m advising to my colleagues of the state are based on anything other than disease transmission and how these outbreaks work,” she said.

Bagdasarian said the availability of tests is crucial as we move forward.

Read: Complete Michigan COVID coverage

About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

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