BA.5 Covid variant and surge in state numbers renew need for vigilance, says doctor

We've got a new Covid variant causing problems. As the numbers go up in Michigan and across the country we talk to a Beaumont ER doctor - who tells us what symptoms to watch out for.

A simple check-in with friends or family and you don't even need the data to tell you what's happening with Covid. Tuesday numbers show a 30 percent increase in Michigan Covid cases from the previous week.

It's something ER Dr. Jaime Hope is seeing first-hand.

"So we are seeing an increase in cases again," she said. "We are seeing more people testing positive when they are coming into the emergency department, and so the numbers are on the rise. I know it's frustrating and we're tired of it, but we have to maintain our diligence as new strains change, and it continues to evolve."

The BA.5 sub-variant is new but the Covid symptoms remain the same.

"You get the respiratory components we're aware of, and people can also get the gastrointestinal symptoms, nausea and vomiting. But sometimes having Covid can cause things in a vulnerable population, such as increasing their risk for a heart attack. So we are seeing, as people get it, those who are already sick are getting sicker with other medical conditions as well."

Dr. Hope mentioned other common symptoms like shortness of breath, or heart palpitations, that should lead to a ER visit for evaluation.

One FOX 2 viewer asked what to do if your spouse is Covid positive but you are in fact fine, negative.

"If you are negative you still want to isolate from people that are positive - just as a protection to prevent the spread," she said. "So that includes your masking, avoiding touching your face, handwashing for 20 seconds, and maintaining that physical distance."

She admits the guidelines are confusing when it comes to how to handle isolating or protecting yourself with Covid.

According to the CDC if you think you have Covid, get tested, isolate at home for five days and wear a mask if you are in a house with someone else. 

Dr. Jaime Hope of Beaumont.

Dr. Jaime Hope of Beaumont.