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COVID-19 variants wreaking havoc in Michigan, state still hotspot

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT
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Mich. (WNDU) - This is the day the State of Michigan expects to top the 5,000,000 mark in terms of the total number of COVID vaccinations administered.

That’s 1,000,000 more than was the case two weeks ago, but still not enough for Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The governor blames a surge of new COVID cases in Michigan on variants and she believes the situation warrants a surge of additional vaccine from the Biden administration.

“But the variants in Michigan that we are facing right now won’t be contained if we don’t ramp up vaccinations as soon as possible. We need additional supply of the one-shot J & J vaccine which we believe is vital to our strategy of rapidly distributing vaccines and slowing the rising spread,” Whitmer said at a morning news conference.

Governor Whitmer also called upon the general populace to help. She wants high schools to follow up spring break with two weeks of remote learning. She wants a two-week suspension of youth sports, and she wants restaurant customers to avoid indoor dining for two weeks.

“MDHSS is also tracking 991 outbreaks in counties all across the state that includes new outbreaks in K-12 schools, manufacturing and construction, long term care, childcare, retail, restaurants and bars,” added Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive. “Between January and March, we saw 291 outbreaks associated with youth sports teams, both contact and non-contact sports that involved 1,091 people. We have seen 58-new outbreaks in just restaurants and retail settings alone in the past week.”

Tina Freese Decker, President and CEO of Spectrum Health also took part in this morning’s news conference. “And a new B117 variant is likely contributing to this surge, which wasn’t present last fall. B117 is now the dominant strain nationwide and Michigan has the most reported cases.”

Freese Decker says the number of COVID patients at Spectrum facilities have doubled over the past two weeks.

Freese Decker says the B117 variant is 50 to 75-percent more contagious than past strains and has the propensity to cause larger outbreaks

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