Bob Riney, president of health care operations and COO at Henry Ford, and Dr. Adnan Munkarah, executive vice president and CCO, discussed Wednesday the current COVID situation heading into the holidays.
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The health care system’s messages come as the state continues to grapple with increased COVID spread, and the new threat of the virus variant known as omicron.
Last week, Michigan health officials reported that the state’s COVID-19 numbers are continuing to trend in a “deeply concerning direction” heading into the new year.
“We have seen the highest weekly reported cases during this surge as we have in the whole pandemic,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human services.
Officials also reported that COVID hospitalizations in Michigan have been increasing for 20 weeks and have reached an all-time high. According to Dr. Bagdasarian, hospitals are feeling the strain both in terms of COVID cases and others who are postponing care.
Dr. Paolo Marciano, chief medical officer for Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, said last week that their health system has about 650 COVID patients across its hospitals, with more than three-quarters of those patients unvaccinated.
Health officials continue to push for vaccinations and booster shots for eligible individuals to help slow virus spread and prevent serious illness and hospitalizations. The latest research on the new omicron variant shows that vaccines may be less effective against the COVID strain, but so far, it appears that the strain causes a milder illness than previous strains.