LANSING, Mich. – Korm. Gretchen Whitmer He spoke of the “fragile” successes of Michigan’s COVID-19 situation on Tuesday and was asked if the variants could spread, resulting in another closure.
Here are the key takeaways for Tuesday’s briefing.
Last week, Khaldun said 28 combined cases of COVID-19 variant B117 were confirmed in Wayne and Washtenaw counties.
On Sunday, health officials announced they had identified the a confirmed case of the variant in Kent County.
“While our numbers are still evolving in the right direction overall, I am very concerned about what we see with the new B117 version,” dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Today, we know the version identified in Michigan in 45 counties, and there will be more.”
The version first appeared in the UK, but there were not always people in Michigan who traveled there, Khaldun said. This means that a version is likely in the ‘general community’.
“We’re in a race, like I said,” Whitmer said. “There are versions that are present today that we need to worry about.”
He reiterated that the version jeopardized the progress Michigan had made in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths during the “break”.
On the topic of even more infectious versions than the original COVID-19 virus, Whitmer was asked on Tuesday that further restrictions could come into effect.
“If these become the dominant viruses in the circle, how likely are we to return to more restaurants and other public gatherings?” Whitmer was asked.
“Nobody wants to go back, step back,” Whitmer said. “That’s why we ask everyone to continue to do their part. The B117 variant, the other variants seen all over the world – we still know they can’t hand over a person if we wear our masks, keep ourselves socially away and wash our hands.
“We still know how to defeat these viruses and these variants of the virus if we continue to do so, but we are competing to bring these vaccines to arms, and that is why the resources of the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan are so key at this moment. It’s a race, and we still want to lead that race, and we need to get those resources there. “
Khaldun also expressed concern about the versions.
“Of course I’m worried, but as the governor said, masks, social distance, hand washing – these things work,” Khaldun said.
He said the state contact monitoring and testing is in good shape because cases have decreased, so there are plenty of contact tracers and antigen tests currently available.
“We have stepped up our public health response and I trust what we have done with our local health departments and other places where we have seen these epidemics,” Khaldun said.
At this point, there are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant in Michigan that can be traced back to South Africa.
“As for the South African version, I say at this point we don’t yet know of any version that is located in the state of Michigan,” Khaldun said.
Michigan laboratories are performing full genome sequencing for possible samples of this variant, he said.
“But we haven’t identified that yet, even in the state,” Khaldun said.
Since the outbreak, officials have paid increased attention to the number, percentage of positivity, and hospitalization of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Michigan will report 144 COVID-19 / million residents / day cases per day, Khaldun said. The rate of cases is steadily declining and is down 81% from its peak in mid-November, he said.
The state’s percentage positivity is 4.5%, which the state says will continue to decline.
According to Khaldun, only 6% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. That number has dropped 72% since the “fall peak” on December 1st.
Michigan officials have reported a decline in COVID-19 for more than a month, but Whitmer has warned residents not to let their guards down.
“Just like in the last 11 months, our successes at this point are fragile,” Whitmer said.
The state reported less than 2,000 one-day cases in one week, after reaching more than 9,000 cases in one day at one point. But both Whitmer and Khaldun said the fight is not over yet.
“We know how to slow the spread, and the same thing that Michiganders has done so well over the past year to slow the spread of the virus and bring the curve down last spring and fall,” Khaldun said.
In January, Whitmer set a goal for all Michigan school districts to offer personal learning opportunities to students through March 1st.
Since then, the state has made teachers eligible for COVID-19 vaccination and allowed youth contact sports to continue in order to make this goal more achievable and eliminate conflicting messages.
On Tuesday, Whitmer doubled the importance of returning to personal learning.
“However, the value of personal learning is immeasurable for our children and we need to do everything we can to provide them with security in the classroom to receive the education they need,” Whitmer said.
He says many students and families have struggled with distance learning and need at least one hybrid schedule that includes some personal interaction.
“This can be done safely with security protocols and a strategy that keeps our students, teachers and support staff safe,” Whitmer said.
The state “strongly encourages” school districts to provide as much personal learning as possible.
“We also know that personal learning can be done safely, and it is already happening in many school districts in the state,” Khaldun said.
Epidemiologists across the country have found that schools can open with wearing masks and a low risk of COVID-19 transmission through other infection prevention protocols, he said.
Michigan has received federal support for students to return to personal learning.
Whitmer announced last week more than 1 million doses the COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Michigan. On Tuesday, we learned more about the progress of the vaccination.
He said on Tuesday that Michigan administered exactly 1,292,572 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Michigan officials give priority to vaccinating health workers, but Figure 1A. And Fig. 1B. Residents living in phase are still eligible to register for vaccination.
However, many Michiganderes have struggled to secure appointments, and government officials said the reason was a lack of care.
“Demand for vaccines exceeds current supply,” Whitmer said. “It simply came to our notice then. The number of vaccinations is increasing. “
According to Khaldun, the state has increased the amount of the vaccine by 16%. He hopes the vaccination by Johnson & Johnson will be allowed by the end of February.
The state aims to shoot 50,000 guns a day.
Khaldun said all doses of the vaccine available to the state have been administered or the administration is being scheduled.
“All skilled nursing home residents and staff have been offered the first dose of vaccination, and many have already completed the second dose,” Khaldun said.
He said 11% of Michiganders aged 16 and over had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and about 25% of residents aged 65 and over had been vaccinated.
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