Michigan’s top doctor strikes hopeful tone for 2021 with COVID-19 waning

Vaccine process moving slower than initially hoped
Providers are able to get an extra sixth dose from the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Providers are able to get an extra sixth dose from the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine(ktuu)
Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 12:37 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan is in a better position than most other Midwest states with key COVID-19 statistics dropping steadily through the month of December, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state’s top doctor.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive, pointed out that the state’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain three or four times where they were in early September. But both are falling as vaccines are being administered, which brings hope for 2021.

“The end of this pandemic is near,” Khaldun said.

She said the average number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan has been dropping for 38 days from its peak in November while the percentage of positive coronavirus diagnostic tests is declining. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients dropped by 3% in the past week.

“Overall there are reasons to be optimistic, but that is not a reason for people to be complacent,” Khaldun said.

Posted by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Whitmer said her administration is watching the data on newly confirmed coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and mobility data when deciding whether to impose or remove restrictions. She didn’t provide any hints about whether the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemic order forcing restaurants to close dine-in service through Jan. 15 will be extended.

Meanwhile, health care providers across Michigan have administered 71,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the past two weeks. Long-term care facilities statewide are planning 490 vaccination clinics in the coming weeks for staff members and residents, who are at the highest risk of a serious COVID-19 illness.

The vaccine administered represents only about 25% of the doses shipped to the state so far, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data. Health care systems have received nearly 280,000 doses as of Sunday.

Whitmer said the vaccination process in Michigan has moved slower than hoped initially, which she attributes to a lack of planning and coordination from federal health officials. She said other governors around the United States are experiencing similar issues.

Khaldun said some health care systems in Michigan are moving slow with the vaccine on purpose to perfect the process of receiving, storing, thawing and administering their doses. She expects the speed of administering the vaccine will increase as providers get accustomed to it.

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