State urges residents to get vaccinated amid COVID surge

Officials again are pleading with Michigan residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the state continues to record high numbers of cases and hospitalizations.

New data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association shows the majority of Michigan residents severely sick with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Getting the vaccine is crucial to maintaining personal health, the safety of Michigan’s health care personnel and to avoid additional strain on health care systems already struggling to respond, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and MHA.

“The data is clear: if you are unvaccinated, you are risking hospitalization or death,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We have a safe and effective vaccine that is quite literally saving lives.”

Based on recent data, MHA has found that 3 out of 4 COVID patients are unvaccinated, or 76%; 87% of COVID ICU patients are unvaccinated and 88% of COVID ventilator patients are unvaccinated.

“Michigan’s health care systems are stretched beyond their limits — so much so that the U.S. Department of Defense is providing clinical staffing support to hospitals throughout the state that are operating at capacity, delaying nonemergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion,” said Brian Peters, CEO of MHA. “This data confirms what the situation in our hospitals is already telling us: get vaccinated, whether it is your first dose, vaccination for your children or a booster dose.”

Michigan’s number of hospitalized COVID-19 cases reached a new high this week, with 4,291 patients hospitalized. Recently, Michigan reached 70% of residents 16 and older who have received their first vaccine dose, but cases are surging in the unvaccinated population.

MDHHS is monitoring for the COVID-19 omicron variant, which has not been detected in the state. Residents are advised that variants make it even more important to get vaccinated, including the booster doses to increase protection, wear masks, and take other precautions.

In addition to getting vaccinated and wearing masks — particularly indoors and in crowded areas — other things people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones include:

— Getting tested for COVID-19, especially before gatherings;

— Physically distancing and avoiding crowds;

— Washing hands frequently with soap and water and cleaning hands with alcohol-based hand rub;

— Covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing;

— Self-isolating until you recover if you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

MDHHS has issued a public health advisory that all Michiganders, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask in indoor public settings and those who are not fully vaccinated or who are immunocompromised should avoid large crowds or gatherings.


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