Covid strain Ba.5 has health officials watching state numbers closely

Healthcare officials say the state's current Covid case number is one they had expected to see closer to fall when school was back in session.

"BA.5 and the presence of BA.5 sped that up," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian. "BA.5 is on the rise. We know it’s more transmissible and more invasive and likely to cause more infection."

Across most of the country the omicron sub-variant has caused an uptick in Covid cases, many of which are going unreported to local health departments.

"Not all the tests that are being taken are being recorded," said Dr. Russell Faust, Oakland County Health Division.

"We are only getting report results for PCR test and on-site antigen tests, we're not getting results for those at-home antigen tests," said Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive.

But as Covid numbers rise across the country, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are watching another trend in Michigan.

"It shows that Michigan is in a plateau," she said. "Which means the rate has stopped declining and they’re sort of hovering in this area."

But officials don’t believe cases will stay in a plateau for long.

"The question is when - rather than if - we will see an increase in cases," said Bagdasarian

Despite BA5 being highly transmissible, there is some good news

"I’m not seeing as many hospitalizations and we’re not seeing severe illness even if those require hospital care," said Faust.

As public healthcare officials continue to monitor this new highly contagious Covid variant they’re also dealing with concerns over Monkeypox

MDHHS officials say for now the vaccine in Michigan is being used for people who are exposed to this disease.

"At some point in the future when we get more Monkeypox vaccines, then we can start vaccinating people for pre-exposure," said Dr. Bagdasarian

Medical experts don’t want to alarm Michiganders, but they do want them to be aware. They say at this time mandates are not needed because the necessary tools are available like Covid vaccines and treatments, to keep people safe.

"We have incredibly effective tools we have tools that it all Michiganders utilize the tools we would not be considering surges or increased risk to some of our most vulnerable," she said.