COVID-19 positivity rates decrease, but hospitalizations remain high
Tue, 05/04/2021 - 4:09pm caleb
Area healthcare officials also concerned about the presence of several coronavirus variants in Michigan
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Munson Healthcare officials recently reported that some COVID-19 numbers in the region are improving while others continue to remain at very high levels.
“I am happy to report today finally some good news in our numbers,” said Dr. Christine Nefcy, Munson Healthcare Chief Medical Officer, during a weekly online press conference hosted by Munson Healthcare on Tuesday, April 27. “Our percent positivity rate is down to 14 percent. That’s about 2.5 percentage points lower than it was last week and that is definitely a good trend that we are seeing.”
COVID-19 hospitalization numbers, however, remain high after Munson Healthcare’s total recently surpassed the 100 mark for the first time during the pandemic.
“Unfortunately that trend has not yet translated into a decrease in our number of hospitalizations,” Dr. Nefcy said. “Last week was our peak in hospitalizations. Quickly after that it went down slightly and we’ve been maintaining about that 90 number for our inpatient COVID positives across our system for the last week or so.”
Munson Healthcare officials reported that the “current surge” has “flattened out slightly over the last week,” showing the plateau through a graph.
Munson Healthcare has distributed 73,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, officials said.
“We continue to see good news on the vaccine front,” Dr. Nefcy said.
Munson Healthcare reported on April 27 that the CDC and the FDA have recommended the resumption of distribution of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Previously, they had recommended the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to a blood clotting issue known at the time to have affected approximately one in a million of those people who had received it. After investigating, federal health organizations are now recommending that the vaccine be used but with a warning to women age 18 through 50 that there is risk for a rare blood clot issue, healthcare officials said.
“We have resumed giving that vaccine,” Dr. Nefcy said.
Munson Healthcare officials said the presence of COVID-19 variants continues to be a major concern for healthcare systems. During Tuesday’s online press conference, Munson Healthcare listed six specific “variants of concern” and provided information on their probable place of origin and when they were first detected in the United States:
• B.1.1.7 (initially detected in the United Kingdom), first identified in the U.S. in December of 2020;
• B.1.351 (initially detected in South Africa), first identified in the U.S. in January of 2021;
• P.1 (believed to be from Brazil), first identified in the U.S. in January of 2021;
• B.1.427 and B.1.429, first identified in California in February of 2021;
• L452R (believed to be from India), has been detected in Michigan.
“We continue to see high numbers of variants both in Michigan as well as across the United States, so there are a number of them that are being tracked,” Dr. Nefcy said. “The B.1.1.7 is the most common, at least in Michigan, and probably across the United States, but that’s the one we’re seeing the most in our state, but we are seeing evidence of all those variants. We had a case of (the India variant) in Clinton County, so that is also something that we’re following closely.”