COVID-19 transmission remains high in Michigan heading into holidays

Posted at 6:45 AM, Dec 13, 2021

(WXYZ) — Michigan is still considered a COVID-19 hotspot after weeks of battling what doctors say is our fourth surge.

Come Christmas, cases are expected to rise even more as our state battles not one, but two coronavirus variants.

Delta is still the dominating variant right now. The CDC said it accounts for 99% of cases and a majority of hospitalizations.

The omicron variant is new in Michigan, but experts say it's more infectious than delta.

"Pretty much everything is going in the wrong direction locally and broadly in Michigan," Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, from the Washtenaw County Health Department, said.

The COVID-19 picture in Michigan is grim. 83 counties are reporting "high" COVID-19 transmission levels and the state is tracking 50 new or ongoing outbreaks.

The Delonis Homeless Shelter in Washtenaw County has been trying to control an outbreak in their facilities for two weeks. So far, they've remained operational.

"This is not unique. This is, in terms of an outbreak, a reflection of very high transmission and activity happening in the whole community," Ringler-Cerniglia said.

On Friday, the state hit an unfortunate milestone, passing 25,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

Now, officials are facing a new challenge after identifying the first case of the omicron variant in Michigan, which is spreading easier but may not be as severe.

"It appears to be able to evade some of the immune protection of things like monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma, and the antibodies that are induced by vaccines," Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

But, getting a booster will raise the level of protection high enough where it does well against omicron.

Mitigation measures are a must, especially for places like Washtenaw County where hospitals are nearing capacity.

Experts say washing your hands, avoiding big crows, wearing am mask indoors and getting vaccinated or boosted will go a long way right now.

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