Officials encourage continued vigilance as COVID cases surge

By: Nick Mordowanec | Metro | Published April 1, 2021

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METRO DETROIT — An increase in coronavirus cases across Michigan are causing medical practitioners to again stress the importance of mask wearing and social distancing.

During a media briefing March 29, Henry Ford Health System Chief Clinical Officer Adnan Munkarah said the state is “truly at an inflection point.”

“The progress we have been making with vaccinations gives us a lot of hope that the end of the pandemic is within reach,” he said. “At the same time, the numbers we are seeing at the national level, but specifically in Michigan, are definitely worrisome.”

HFHS began administering vaccinations Dec. 17. As of March 29, more than 202,500 doses had been administered via the health system — resulting in over 100,700 people being fully vaccinated.

Those individuals include healthcare workers, existing Henry Ford patients, essential workers and others who meet the recently expanded eligibility requirements from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

HFHS received 21,050 doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as of the week of March 28, including 9,990 first doses of Pfizer and Moderna; 10,760 second doses of Pfizer and Moderna; and 300 doses of Johnson & Johnson.

To date, no vaccine has gone to waste, the hospital system stated.

As of 8 a.m. March 29, HFHS said it had experienced “a substantial spike in admissions and positivity rate,” saying admissions were up about 236% since March 3.

The total number of Henry Ford patients with COVID-19 since the pandemic’s beginning was over 44,000, with over 12,000 of those individuals hospitalized.

Negative tests exceeded positive tests by about 25,000, dating back 30 days since March 29. It is a positivity rate of about 16.3%.

At press time, there were 236 patients admitted because of the coronavirus, including the highest number of 82 patients at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, in Clinton Township.

The state had experienced an overall increase of 133% in cases the two weeks before March 29, including a doubling of hospitalizations in that same time frame. It resulted in visitor restrictions being reinstated at Henry Ford Hospital, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.

“We do believe that, between vaccinations and adhering to all the safety measures, we can prevent this surge from getting worse,” Munkarah said. “We need to stay vigilant and continue to use all the safety measures that have helped us in the past — wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, washing our hands. We can do it again, and now we’re going to be helped by vaccinating people. This is not the time to give up.”

For Michigan to achieve herd immunity, Munkarah said between 70% and 90% of people would have to have some level of immunity. As of March 29, Michigan reported that 31% of residents were vaccinated.

On April 5, anyone 16 years and older will be eligible to receive vaccinations.