What’s Going Around: Flu, respiratory illnesses trending down across Metro Detroit hospitals

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

Local doctors share their notes on What’s Going Around:

Wayne County:

Dr. Jason Vieder -- Emergency Department at Henry Ford Medical Center Fairlane

“Flu and most respiratory illnesses are down. There is concern that we might see influenza B because that normally happens later in the flu season. Some experts have postulated that we won’t see influenza B because COVID precautions/preventions have mitigated its breakout. I’ve seen a bunch of appendicitis lately. As we anticipate snow and ice, there is always an uptick in fall/trauma injuries.”

Dr. Jennifer Stephens-Hoyer -- Emergency Department at Henry Ford Medical Center Plymouth

“COVID and influenza are still present in the community, but there have been fewer Emergency Department visits for these illnesses. Other viral respiratory infections are being seen as well. Illness related to heavy alcohol and other substance use appears heightened. We also do see injuries related to ice/snow slip and falls, especially in the elderly.”

Dr. Glen Clark -- Chief of the Emergency Center at Corewell Health Beaumont Grosse Pointe Hospital

“We have seen a significant drop in influenza and RSV, while we continue to see COVID cases, most of which are mild and require only supportive care. We also have had a couple patients who presented late with major heart attack complications after denying or minimizing symptoms for a few days. I would encourage listeners to seek care if they develop symptoms of chest pain.”

Dr. Jon Lovy -- Family Medicine at Corewell Health Trenton Hospital

“No doubt about it, influenza has now overtaken COVID as the number one cause of hospitalization and death in the U.S. We are seeing strong evidence of that here at our office in Trenton. The good news is that numbers are beginning to drop. As for COVID, it truly is an illness of the elderly and immunosuppressed. These are the demographics I see in the hospital, so if you’re at high risk, work on a winter prevention plan with your doctor that starts with mask use in crowds and includes being aware of ventilation indoors. Early antiviral treatment with Paxlovid, along with updated vaccination still does a great job of preventing hospitalization, even among high-risk groups. Please, however, continue to take influenza prevention seriously, as this is a very rough ride without much treatment for those at risk. Hopefully the downward trend in cases will continue and we’ll all be safe for the spring.”

Oakland County

Lauren Tierney -- Emergency Center Clinical Nurse Manager at Corewell Health Farmington Hills Hospital

“Our volume is down a little bit over the last couple of weeks. Our respiratory illnesses are calming down a little bit. Other than that, it’s the usual, day-to-day emergencies people present with: stroke, heart attacks, pediatric injuries. We haven’t seen many snow or ice-related injuries recently; we’ve had a pretty mild winter so far. But that may change after Wednesday.”

Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County Health Department

“Influenza circulation remains at high levels locally, but it appears this wave of flu may have peaked. Additional flu waves are possible. In the past few weeks, several influenza-related deaths in Washtenaw County adults have been reported. The individuals were confirmed with influenza A. Flu-related hospitalizations of Washtenaw residents are still elevated, but are decreasing. Most influenza cases being reported in Washtenaw County are influenza A.”

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.