State's top doctor concerned about omicron amid Michigan's COVID-19 surge

Posted at 8:29 AM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 08:29:28-05

(WXYZ) — The state's top doctor says now is not the time to let your guard down.

At the moment, there are no COVID-19 omicron variant cases in Michigan, but that doesn't mean we are in the clear.

"Chances are, it will be here if it’s not here already — it’s just a matter of time," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the chief medical executive for the state of Michigan.

Right now, almost 20 states are reporting cases of the variant that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is "mild," but it's still a concern for Bagdasarian.

State hospitals are currently overwhelmed, and some are at capacity.

“This is not a great time for Michigan to face a more transmissible variant," Bagdasarian said.

Pfizer announced that a booster of its vaccine is significant protection against the variant.

Bagdasarian says Michigan has the tools to get ahead.

“We have the tools to prepare for this variant. We have vaccines and rapid tests. It’s time to use all of those mitigation strategies to preparation for omicron," she said.

The latest COVID-19 case numbers continue to put Michigan in the national spotlight.

“We are seeing case rates right now that are nearing levels of other surges we’ve had in this pandemic," Bagdasarian said.

The state is now reporting a daily average of more than 7,600 cases.

“What I am concerned about is that we will face omicron with such high case rates that our health care system won’t be able to withstand more cases," Bagdasarian said.

To help detect COVID-19 cases in communities, the state is launching an online dashboard that will monitor data of COVID-19 in wastewater.

In a release the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says:

“The purpose of COVID-19 wastewater monitoring efforts is to identify and track the SARS-CoV-2 virus in communities in a faster and more targeted way. The results can provide an early detection of the virus before people become sick or get tested and before cases are reported.”

-The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The dashboard can be found on the state’s website.

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