LANSING, Mich. - Michigan hospitals reported a record number of COVID-19 patients Monday, surpassing the peak from nearly a month ago before the state’s daily already-high infection counts surged to new heights due to the more contagious omicron variant.
Roughly 4,900 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus, including 4,580 adults with a positive test. The previous pandemic high for adults with a confirmed infection was 4,518 on Dec. 13, before a two-week decline and then an increase that started after Christmas.
Michigan had six COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents in the past week, the seventh-highest among all states, according to the federal government. Beaumont Health, a large hospital system in the Detroit area, has said it is at a "breaking point" due in part to staff out sick with the virus and urged the public to be vaccinated, get a booster shot and wear a mask.
Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, called the record figure "a grim milestone that demonstrates the immense stress on our hospitals throughout the state. The increased transmissibility of the omicron variant is only leading to more patients admitted to the hospital, but also infecting vital caregivers and impacting hospital capacity."
Also Monday, the state health department updated its isolation and quarantine guidance to reflect recent changes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infected students and staff can return more quickly — after five days — if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms have improved and they wear a well-fitted mask on days six through 10.
Those with a fever should stay home until fever-free for 24 hours.
Close contacts do not need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or have had the virus in the previous 90 days. Unvaccinated close contacts can "test to stay" on days one through six.
State Attorney General Dana Nessel cautioned that fake COVID-19 home tests are being sold online amid a spike in demand, citing warnings from the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. She urged people to make sure their test has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and to file complaints.
Nessel recalled how she got sick and received a rapid test from a friend, only to become suspicious when it had no instructions except to go online and provide information like her Social Security number.
"There are a lot of people who unknowingly are going to fall for it," Nessel said. "It’s not just that they’re trying to get your personal information. It’s that these tests are not real tests."