GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Other parts of the world are reporting an increase of COVID-19 cases, but new COVID-19 cases continue to decline statewide. While West Michigan saw an increase in cases starting about this time last year, a local doctor says he's hopeful this fall and winter are different.
"We're kind of getting into the respiratory virus season," Dr. Andrew Jameson, Trinity Health St. Mary's Medical Director of Infection Control and the Section Chief of Infectious Disease, says.
Cold and flu season is here, and COVID-19 has not gone away.
"In August (and) in September, when I was in the hospital, I was actually seeing some of the sickest people I've seen in a while with COVID," Dr. Jameson says.
He says he's still seeing pretty regular admissions for people sick with COVID-19. More than 12,800 cases were reported in Michigan this past week. That's the lowest seven-day average we've seen since April.
Kent County remains at a medium-level transmission rate, with nearly six percent of hospital beds taken by COVID patients.
"I don't see us going back to a massive wave where we have, you know, unfortunately, hundreds of people dying in our community," Dr. Jameson says. "I don't see that happening with COVID. And that's awesome and exciting."
So as people catch a cold or the flu, he's encouraging people to keep in mind the things we learned during the pandemic.
\"When you are sick with a respiratory illness, if you're coughing, sniffling, if you feel kind of crummy, absolutely wear a mask for a little while, because it's gonna save, the person next to you ever having to call in later," Dr. Jameson says. "Or it's gonna save someone else's grandma from getting hospitalized from influenza."
Dr. Jameson says the latest Omicron subvariants are more aggressive in re-infecting people, so with these colder months ahead, he's encouraging people consider getting the latest COVID booster.
Those who are 12 and older who haven't gotten a vaccine in the last two months are eligible.
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