Henry Ford Health officials give COVID update

FILE - A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in the Norristown Public Health Center in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 800,000, a once-unimaginable figure seen as doubly tragic, given that more than 200,000 of those lives were lost after the vaccine became available practically for the asking. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Matt Rourke, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Officials with the Henry Ford Health System held a virtual news conference Wednesday morning to provide an update on COVID-19 hospitalizations, vaccinations and the virus’ impact on operations.

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.

This live stream has ended.

Here’s what you missed: 6 takeaways: Henry Ford Health officials say Michigan’s current COVID ‘crisis’ worse than a year ago

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.

Read: 8 Michigan COVID takeaways: Omicron, fourth surge, ‘deeply concerning direction’

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.

Read: Pfizer jabs protect 70% against hospitalization from omicron

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.