Michigan is experiencing a record-high number of COVID-19 cases. Earlier this week, the state reported 44,524 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 56 virus-related deaths, averaging 14,841.3 cases over a three-day period.
The latest surge in numbers is due to the omicron variant, which is considered significantly more transmissible than previous strains of the virus. While omicron is easily spread from person to person, health experts say it’s showing signs of resulting in less severe illness, but the sheer numbers are overwhelming health care systems.
So, when it will this surge end? According to state health officials, Michigan’s record high COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are projected to peak in late January or early February.
“We have a choice to make: Do we want to work on bringing that peak down or do we just want to let this omicron surge explode?” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s chief medical executive, said in a statement. Dr. Bagdasarian also projected that omicron now accounts for around 90% of infections in some areas of Michigan.
Michigan health officials are asking people to get vaccinated, boosted, wear a well-fitting mask and avoid gatherings with a large number of people.
Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says residents should be using an N95 mask or wear two well-fitting masks. She also says residents who are sick but don’t need emergency care should go to an urgent care or their doctor instead of the emergency room and do an at-home test or find a testing site.
Michigan’s hospitals are currently caring for around 5,000 COVID-19 patients. That number could to go 8,000 using most pessimistic scenario or increase a small amount using the most optimistic model.
More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Michigan as of Jan. 6. Of Michiganders 16 and older, 69% of residents have received at least one dose and 63.1% have received two doses. Roughly 64.1% of all Michigan residents have received at least one COVID vaccine dose.
Boosters are an increasingly important element of fighting the omicron variant. Henry Ford Health System recently reported that patients without boosters accounted for 95% of Henry Ford patients hospitalized with COVID-19.