Henry Ford Health raises concerns about increase in COVID-19 transmission in Michigan

Henry Ford Health raises concerns about increase in COVID-19 transmission in Michigan
Posted at 7:51 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 19:51:37-04

We are seeing a definite uptick in the number of people sick with COVID-19. Flu season is underway. The holidays are approaching. What could it all lead to?

Henry Ford Health System held a press conference Friday to raise awareness that we all need to be paying attention.

In the Henry Ford Health System right now there are 97 patients admitted with COVID-19. This is significantly less than the peak in April when about 1,000 people were hospitalized in the system. However, it is an increase from hospitalization levels we saw over the summer. Plus, a greater percentage of tests done are coming back positive for COVID-19.

“What this is telling us is the increase in the number of cases we are seeing is not only related to increased testing, but we are definitely seeing an increase in the transmission of the virus,” said Adnan Munkarah, M.D., the Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer of Henry Ford Health.

Dr. Munkarah says many of the people sick right now are young, infected as schools and colleges opened. He says that is why relative to positive cases, the hospitalizations the health system is seeing have increased at a lower rate.

“If the virus starts spreading with our more elderly population we are going to be in trouble,” he said.

The concern is that this population could spread it to other more vulnerable populations as we head into the holiday season leading to a spike in hospitalizations rivaling what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We have seen this come up very fast in March and April. And this can do that if we don’t follow the measures we think are protective,” Dr. Munkarah warned.

Those measures are social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding large indoor gatherings - even with family for the upcoming holidays.

“Let’s extend our love virtually this time because, if we get together and extend our love in person, we might spread a virus that will cause a life lost for a loved one,” he said.

Dr. Munkarah said he cannot predict what will happen because it is all dependent on how we all act. One thing he made clear, study after study shows that masks, while not 100% effective, definitely dramatically cut your risk if worn by all who are in contact with each other.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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