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Doctors worn out from pandemic now managing surge in COVID-19 testing requests amid holidays
The pandemic is raging in Michigan at a rate not seen since COVID-19 first arrived in the state. While the vast majority of those in the hospital and in the ICU infected with the disease are unvaccinated, breakthrough cases tied to the omicron variant is posing a danger to everyone.
TUESDAY NEWS HIT – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will be holding a Tuesday press conference to address the surging COVID-19 cases in Michigan amid the emergence of the omicron variant.
Whitmer will be joined by her health director Elizabeth Hertel and several other physicians somewhere in Grand Rapids where the governor will address the state around 9:20 a.m.
As holiday travel kicks into full gear, concerns have morphed into alarms for many hospitals and doctors as Michigan manages some of its worst hospitalization numbers of the pandemic. The 7-day case rate has started falling back down, but patient loads remain near capacity at many hospitals.
Michigan had been managing a more gradual uptick in cases since July 2021 before they spiked in November. What followed was more than 4,500 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and another 1,000 in the ICU. About 75% and 85% of the individuals in those two settings were not vaccinated when they were admitted, Henry Ford Health System’s chief said last week.
The current wave is being felt around the U.S., despite the presence of available vaccines. While recent studies haven’t pinned down if the omicron variant offers a more dangerous health outcome compared to the delta strain, it is more infectious. It’s already the most dominant strain in the U.S.
Now, it’s not just 2-dose series but a booster shot that may be necessary to avoid passing the virus on to others.
In the short term, the next seven days could prove crucial to not prolonging the COVID-19 surge much longer as families return for the holidays.
For many, that means rapid tests at home. But according to many doctors, accessing a test has not gotten any easier.
“I feel like there’s been an increase in burden of demand in volume of Covid testing,” Dr. Bernice Sessa, the Beaumont Urgent Care Regional Medical Director said. “Overall in Southeast Michigan, we’re seeing an average of 2,000 patients a day.”