COVID-19 hospitalizations in Michigan up nearly 50 percent

Overall COVID-19 cases in Michigan have skyrocketed 78 percent over the same period, according to The New York Times.

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COVID-19 infection rates in Michigan have soared this month, putting a major strain on the state’s hospitals.

Michigan has experienced a 78 percent spike in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, according to data obtained by the The New York Times. The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 rose 46 percent over the same period.

Teen gets COVID-19 vaccine,
A group of teenagers serving as ‘Covid-19 Student Ambassadors’ joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to receive a dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine at Ford Field during an event to promote and encourage Michigan residents to go and get their vaccines on April 6, 2021 in Detroit. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

Admitting and treating so many COVID-19 patients means hospitals may not have enough space for people suffering from other ailments. The surge in patients is beginning to overwhelm some medical professionals.

“What we’re seeing is truly unprecedented,” Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, said in a recent statement. “Our teams are tired, but working hard to care for their communities.”

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said there are several contributing factors, but unvaccinated people in the state are overrepresented among those being hospitalized and dying due to COVID-19. Over the last 30 days, 72 percent of individuals hospitalized due to COVID and 76 percent of those who have died from the disease were not fully vaccinated, according to HHS officials.

As of Friday, Elmouchi said Spectrum Health had 370 hospitalized COVID-19 patients — 86 percent of whom were unvaccinated.

“We’re counting on people to help us by getting vaccinated or getting a booster dose if eligible, wearing masks and being smart about holiday gatherings,” he said.

Race also continues to play a role in the rate of COVID-19 vaccination, diagnosis and mortality.

Black Americans comprise less than 14 percent of Michigan’s population, but the state’s Health and Human Services department said they represent 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths across the state. The overwhelming majority of Michigan residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are white, according to the most recent data, but Black Michiganders have the greatest concentration of COVID-19 cases with more than 95,000 cases per million.

Black Americans have also been the least likely racial demographic group to get fully vaccinated across the country.

CDC data collected this year showed the rate of full vaccination for non-Hispanic Black Americans nationally was just 35.2 percent as of Monday. The full vaccination rate for both non-Hispanic White Americans and Hispanic Americans was 42.5 percent, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, which also showed 46.3 percent of Asian Americans nationally are fully vaccinated.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.), second from right, visits Benton Harbor, Mich. on Oct. 19, 2021, to listen to residents who have been urged to use bottled water because of elevated levels of lead in their tap water. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

Earlier this year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) created a task force to address her state’s COVID-19-related racial disparities. The team has administered more than 24,000 COVID-19 tests in previously underserved communities throughout 21 neighborhood testing sites as of Nov. 16, according to its latest interim progress report.

The task force is working on initiatives to increase enrollment in health insurance plans and build a mobile COVID-19 testing infrastructure for underserved areas.

“This new, data-driven capability will allow testing centers to move between target sites and serve communities at the highest risk,” the task force wrote in its report.

More than 70 percent of Michigander’s ages 16 and older have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, but more people need to get vaccinated to help slow the disease’s spread, according to Chelsea Wuth, associate public information officer for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“We urge all Michiganders to employ the mitigation strategies that have been proven to work including vaccination, wearing masks, social distancing, washing their hands and getting tested for COVID-19 and staying home if they are feeling ill,” Wuth told theGrio via email on Monday. “As more individuals are vaccinated, it is less likely that the virus will circulate and mutate, avoiding the development of more transmissible and vaccine-resistant variants in the future.”

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