TRAVERSE CITY – Health professionals expressed cautious optimism over the region’s recent overall COVID-19 course.
According to the figures, COVID-19 in the region and the state has remained at a low level, said Dr. Christine Nefcy, Chief Physician of Munson Healthcare.
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“Things have been really stable over the last two weeks with state positivity fluctuating in the 4-5 percent range and regionally fluctuating between 5-6 percent,” Nefcy wrote in an email statement.
Michigan’s percentage positivity “creeps up” at 5 percent, she said, and the region is slightly higher at 5.4 percent.
This is a dramatic drop from rates hovering over 20 percent in months as two variants of the virus – delta and omicron – spread rapidly in communities.
The ongoing decline in new COVID-19 infections meant the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced Grand Traverse County from high to medium risk assessment in March. Low risk is when percent positivity drops to below five percent, a figure like CDC data shows that Grand Traverse County is fast approaching after the nine-week decline.
According to the Grand Traverse County Weekly Pulse Check, which discusses weekly trends for the region, the positivity rate is now 5.7 percent for the last 14 days, averaging about six cases a day with no deaths, and hospitalizations remain the same.
According to Munson Healthcare’s COVID-19 tracker, the number of beds occupied by COVID-19 inpatients at Munson Healthcare hospitals was 24, only one less since March 27, with 17 of them at Munson Medical Center, a decrease of two inpatients. patients since the same date.
There were also 112,656 cases and 1,928 deaths in the region since the beginning of the pandemic, the tracker said.
“It certainly looks like things are at one of the lowest rates we’ve had in several months. So it certainly seems very encouraging, on a low plateau, and hopefully we will stay that way; but the future is obviously a big one. unknown, ”said Ken Warner, PA of West Front Primary Care.
Warner said so far because the numbers have been low, it’s been two and a half weeks since he’s seen a patient with COVID-19, against the eight or nine COVID-19 cases he would normally see on any given day two months ago. since . He said there have been some people coming in with prolonged COVID symptoms, but these symptoms have been relatively mild and less common.
Warner said he is cautiously optimistic about the number of cases rising after the spring break, saying it could take a week to 10 days for symptoms to appear.
He believed the drop was due to more people getting sick with omicron and being vaccinated along with the warmer spring weather.
“And the omicron was just so contagious that it burned through a lot of people. So if you put it like a forest fire, there’s not that much dry ignition around now,” Warner said.
As a result of the dramatic drop in percent positivity in the region, Munson Healthcare switched from pandemic level orange status to pandemic level yellow on March 21, easing visitor restrictions and redirecting resources to other non-pandemic-related problems.
Munson will now allow two patients at a time per. inpatient, and patients visiting physicians’ offices and health clinics will be allowed one visitor during their visit, with exceptions left for those in need of a support person, for pediatric and OB patients, and for patients at the end of Life, read a Munson statement.
Waiting rooms and Munson’s cafeterias will now also reopen to visitors, but Munson’s masking policy remains in place.
The recent CDC recommendation for a second booster shot for certain immunocompromised individuals, people over 65 or 50 years old with underlying medical conditions at least four months after their last booster, prompted Grand Traverse County to keep its Cherryland Clinic open this week. April 4-8 for walk-in.
Warner said he’s starting to see some people ask for an extra booster. Overall, the numbers have dropped, he said.
“I know we’ve had a couple of patients in the office who have tested positive. Since we have 15 providers here, there’s obviously a large amount of patients we have. But clearly the numbers have dropped a lot, a lot from where they were. in January and February, ”he said.