Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Aug. 2

MHA Covid-19 update

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

Case Numbers Increase, MHA Members Release Consensus Statement on Vaccination

In response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, Michigan hospitals and health systems released a consensus statement Aug. 5 that reflects the urgent need for individuals to be vaccinated. The statement notes that currently available vaccines are effective against the delta variant and could prevent the loss of thousands more loved ones, urging people to get vaccinated now. The Detroit Free Press and MiBiz both published stories that included the statement.

As in the rest of the nation, new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in Michigan. The state reported more than 3,960 new cases from Aug. 4-6, bringing the daily average cases to about 1,321 – far exceeding June and July daily averages. Hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 are also slowly increasing, with 600 hospitalizations statewide, 10 of which are pediatric.

The state has indicated that roughly 90 percent of samples recently sequenced were confirmed to be the delta variant, demonstrating its rapid spread in Michigan. Nearly half the counties in the state are now urged to have residents wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The MHA is continuing to monitor the data and stay in close communication with state officials. Members with data questions may contact Jim Lee at the MHA.

Full FDA Approval of Pfizer Vaccine Likely to Come in Early September

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials recently told media outlets that the rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus has led them to commit more resources to the approval review process for the Pfizer vaccine. This is accelerating the timeline, and the vaccine is now expected to be approved by early September.

A recent national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about 30% of unvaccinated people would be more likely to get the vaccine if it were fully approved by the FDA.

Vaccination rates have increased again in recent weeks with increased spread of the virus. The country reached President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% adult vaccination Aug. 2. Although just under 64% of Michigan’s 16 and older population had received at least one dose as of Aug. 5, first doses administered in the state have increased by several thousand doses per week since July 24 compared to the several weeks prior.

The MHA does not have new information on when vaccines are expected to be authorized for children under 12 but will keep members apprised of any announcements on vaccine approval or new authorizations as they become available. Members with vaccine questions may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

AHA Video Highlights Back-to-school Check-ups as Opportunities for COVID-19 Vaccines

The American Hospital Association (AHA) Aug. 6 launched a video encouraging families with children 12 and older to add COVID-19 vaccinations to their back-to-school preparations. This video is part of the AHA’s continuing effort to encourage vaccine confidence. Additional resources and answers to common vaccine questions are available online.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).