What’s Going Around: Increase in COVID cases as fall viruses return with a vengeance

Here’s our weekly round-up of what illnesses are spreading the most in Metro Detroit communities, according to our local doctors and hospitals.

Almost all of the hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices sending information on What’s Going Around this week reported an increase in COVID cases, though relatively few patients need to be hospitalized.

“COVID continues to show its presence in all clinics across the region,” said MinuteClinic family nurse practitioner Deborah ‘Micki’ Bailey. “There is also an increase in COVID antibody testing, as people are interested if they still have antibodies.”

Dr. Tiffney Widner -- Pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Michigan

“We’re actually starting to see more follow-ups with COVID. Symptoms we’re seeing are congestion, cough, some kiddos have fevers. We’ve seen a few kids coming in for follow-up from the emergency room or urgent care. Their symptoms aren’t improving. People want answers. They’re hearing COVID numbers are going up and they’re worried. For viruses, most of the time the kiddos need supportive care. In many cases, supportive care can take place at home: clearing out those noses with saline for congestion, using Tylenol or Motrin for fever or pain. Those are the mainstays for treatment. Those who have allergies or asthma should be treating accordingly because viruses can aggravate those. And those who have allergies and asthmas that are triggered by the colder weather should be making sure they have refills of their medication because it’s that time of the year.”

Dr. Asha Shajahan -- Family medicine doctor, Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe

“I’m seeing a lot of COVID, asthma flare ups and sciatica this week.”

Kim Wahmhoff, FNP-C -- Henry Ford-GoHealth Urgent Cares

“I am seeing more COVID-19 cases. In addition, a lot of viral upper respiratory infections and viral pharyngitis.”

Dr. Jayna Gardner-Gray -- Emergency Department, Henry Ford Hospital Detroit

“We are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases and seasonal allergies.”

Oakland County – COVID, respiratory viruses, colds, strep throat, stomach viruses, fall allergies

Dr. Steven McGraw -- Chair of Emergency Medicine, Ascension Providence Hospital, Southfield Campus

“Now is the time to check the batteries in your smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors. Pretty soon our furnaces will be coming on at night and this is often when we learn of furnace problems causing exposure to CO in homes. Kids are back in school and as we have darker mornings on our drive, please ensure you are obeying traffic laws and take extra time to watch for kids crossing the street.”

Dr. Jim Getzinger -- Emergency Center physician, Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak

“There are a number of respiratory viruses making the rounds. The usual colds. Covid has been increasing - as would be expected given the colder weather and closer indoor contact.”

Dr. Rena Daiza -- Primary Care Physician, Henry Ford Medical Center Bloomfield Twp.

“With school back in session, we are seeing an increase in upper respiratory infections. A reminder for everyone to update their vaccinations including flu, COVID-19 and pneumonia. The flu vaccines is for everyone over the age of 6 months. The COVID vaccines will soon become a yearly vaccine and no longer the confusing booster series. The government will be providing free home COVID tests starting Sept. 25. People can request free tests through covidtests.gov.”

Washtenaw County – COVID, upper respiratory viruses, wheezing, RSV, influenza

Dr. Marisa Louie -- Medical Director of Children’s Emergency Services, Michigan Medicine

“We have seen an increase in viral associated wheezing, mostly in toddler and early school aged children, as opposed to babies. When we have tested for the virus, it is often Rhino-Enterovirus. These are 2 different viruses, however our testing cannot tell the difference between the 2. We have seen some positive tests for RSV and influenza, but so far those kids have not been especially ill.”

Dr. Brad Uren -- Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Michigan Medicine

“Lots of upper respiratory stuff. Lots of COVID-19. A few COVID requiring admission.”

Washtenaw County Health Department

“Influenza activity in Washtenaw County is currently at low levels. Sporadic cases of Influenza A and B are being reported. Flu-related hospitalizations of Washtenaw residents are currently at low levels. Sporadic hospitalizations are being reported.”

Monroe County – COVID, influenza, colds, fall allergies, stomach viruses

Macomb County - COVID, respiratory viruses, colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, poison ivy

Dr. Joseph Carlier -- Emergency physician at McLaren Macomb

“There has been a slight uptick in the number of positive COVID-19 tests, though the vast majority of patients are experiencing mild symptoms not requiring hospitalization. Though testing negative for COVID-19 and influenza, there has been a sharp increase of viral infections causing upper respiratory symptoms of cough, congestion, slight fever, and runny nose. Though the weather is cooler, fall athletics continue to cause orthopedic and soft tissue injuries.”

Dr. Dhairya Kiri -- Primary Care Physician, Henry Ford Medical Center Richmond

“We are seeing a significant increase in patients with upper respiratory infections this week. I would recommend that patients get their yearly flu shot and COVID-19 booster to better protect themselves against severe disease.”

Dr. Maria Samuel -- Primary Care Physician, Henry Ford Medical Center Sterling Heights

“We are seeing sinus infections, bronchitis and COVID-19 cases are frequent again. We’ve also seen a few cases of contact dermatitis and poison ivy. Updated COVID-19 boosters will soon be available. It is recommended to keep up with those boosters to maintain some immunity to prevent severe illness and hospitalizations. It is advisable for people to wash their hands, stay way when sick and wear masks when appropriate.”

Melissa Bedner, NP-C -- Henry Ford-GoHealth Urgent Care Centers

“We have been seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout our Metro Detroit clinics. Additionally, there have been equally as many “common cold” cases, especially among school-aged children. "

Livingston County - Upper respiratory viruses, COVID, fall allergies

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.