Ninety-five percent of the patients at Henry Ford Health System who are hospitalized with COVID-19 or in the ICU have not gotten a booster dose of the vaccine, according to a statement given at a press conference on Tuesday (Jan. 4) held by the hospital.
“We have been tracking this and will continue to track it,” Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer, said during the conference. “It is clear that the vaccine continues to be protective.”
Dr. Munkarah also stated that 65% of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 haven’t gotten one dose of the vaccine. A total of 480 patients are hospitalized with the virus at Henry Ford Health System, according to officials.
Henry Ford Health System also stated that they’re facing staffing shortages due to workers getting sick with COVID-19. According to officials, 686 team members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 7 days, up three times from the middle of December. Henry Ford Health System was forced to close 97 beds at three of their hospitals, due to staffing problems.
“The continuous spread of COVID within our community not only puts a strain on our health systems because of the bed occupancy…but also the spread exposes our frontline health workers to community spread,” Dr. Munkarah said.
Officials also think cases will go up after the holidays, citing holiday gathering being a driving force for the virus to spread. They added that vaccination is the best way to be protected from COVID-19 and the new omicron variant, more so than antiviral pills and monoclonal treatments.
“Frankly, we are very concerned about what is going to come in the days ahead, typically we see increases in patients and hospitalizations after holidays, and we are bracing for one of the bleakest months yet we have faced throughout this pandemic,” Dr. Dennis Cunningham said.
Even with the challenges, officials say they’re still hopefully about the future. “We can still control it,” Dr. Munkarah said. “I’m optimistic we’ll get over this. We need to get over this together.”