The state health department is warning residents about the discovery of the omicron variant.

Michigan’s first known case was identified Thursday in a Kent County adult resident.

The news comes as the state battles record COVID-19 hospitalizations and strained, under-staffed hospitals.

Michigan health officials are urging more residents to get vaccinated and get their booster shot if eligible.

"We can't share specifics about that individual, but I can tell you that it was a mild illness," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive for Michigan.

She said there is still a lot to learn about the new variant.

"We need to see what this means for our population here. What does it mean for people who are immunocompromised? What does it mean for people who have other underlying health conditions? Or who are over the age of 65? We don't understand those questions yet," Bagdasarian said.

During a virtual press conference on Friday Bagdasarian made another push for residents to get vaccinated.

"As we think about how to prepare for Omicron, the most vital thing to do is get our vaccination rates up," Bagdasarian said.

The weekly positive COVID-19 case rate is as high as it’s ever been, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is at an all-time high and 87 people died from COVID-19 each day in the past week.

While Bagdasarian said waning immunity is a factor in the latest COVID-19 surge, she said this spike is being fueled by the unvaccinated.

"76 percent of our hospitalized COVID patients were unvaccinated. 87 percent of COVID patients in ICUs were unvaccinated and 88 percent of COVID patients on ventilators were unvaccinated," Bagdasarian said.

MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel gave an answer about possible new restrictions on the horizon.

"Masking is important while we go through trying to achieve our herd immunity through vaccinations. But vaccinations are the absolute best tool that we have," Hertel said.

Fifty-six percent of state residents are fully vaccinated. That is below the national average.

Bagdasarian said low vaccination rates in younger people and in certain areas of the state are bringing that number down.

"Those are the communities and the age groups who are most at risk. So, we're at a critical point right now and we need to get people vaccinated," Bagdasarian said.

Copyright 2021 WNEM. All rights reserved.

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(8) comments


Listen Commie, your comparisons are trash and shows how weak your argument is. The burden of proof is on the ones (you commie) who want to change things from business as usual.

"The man, a Harris County, Texas, resident between 50 and 60 years old, was a high-risk patient due to underlying conditions"

Jeremy Nelson

He still had that natural immunity that you said was best, yet he is the first to die of the weakest variant. Don't move the goalposts. If natural immunity is best, why are unvaccinated dying at a higher rate?


Immune systems are the best tool we have. Fake news.

Jeremy Nelson

Vaccinated vs unvaccinated death count, combined with a couple hundred years of pathology say otherwise; but you go out of your way to be wrong, so this is no surprise. I'd ask you to support your thesis, but this year has shown me that you are unable to and will just yell 'commie' at me,


How many people have died after previously recovering from covid compared to those who took the clot shot? You're too busy suckling the teat of phizer propaganda to look into a counter narrative. Bolshevik commie.

Jeremy Nelson

17 people have died of blood clots and I can't find any total numbers on your people dying after a second infection, but I have found 3 individual cases. So 20 deaths out of 1 million. Unless you have some other numbers, you are worried about something so insignificant compared to the 1000 deaths a day in the US that it is pointless.

Jeremy Nelson

I also like how you didn't support your thesis and called me a commie. I'm so far ahead of you that you literally did exactly what I said,.

Jeremy Nelson Already had covid and is the first to die of the weak strand.

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