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Health experts express concerns as second wave of pandemic begins

Ingham County hospitalizations return to early pandemic levels
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 5:04 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan’s health leaders are sounding the alarm as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services held a virtual roundtable discussion with leading experts on a state and national level to discuss coronavirus trends for the state on Monday.

“This is not going away anytime soon. The end of the pandemic is nowhere near,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CEO of Resolve to Save Lives.

The Ingham County Health Department said Lansing hospitals are seeing the same number of COVID-19 patients as they did in April, which was during Michigan’s stay-at-home order.

“The recent rises are concerning. Specific factors we are seeing include phenomenon in the demographic shift,” said Emily Martin, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan.

More than 5% of coronavirus tests in Michigan are coming back positive. That number’s been going up all month, after it was around 3% on October 1. Many of those are in younger adults.

Martin said that’s because that age group is generally found in larger crowds. She said that it is making it harder to contain the spread.

“We are learning spread with person-to-person contact is where the intervention needs to be. More so than contact transmission or surface transmission,” said Martin.

Hospitals across the state are getting ready to handle those extra cases.

“The COVID surge appears to be coming back. Our numbers obviously show that,” said Dr. John Deledda, Henry Ford Medical Group and Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it is important people follow quarantine orders from local health departments if they are exposed.

However, he said quarantine doesn’t always mean you have to be stuck inside.

“If I lived in a single family house and there were a park behind me and I wanted to go walking with a mask on in quarantine, maybe that’s an okay thing to do,” said Dr. Frieden.

The panelists in Monday’s forum stressed the importance of making sure to wear masks, stay socially distant and avoid large groups.

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