Michigan Officials Worry About U-M Flu Outbreak as Covid Surges in the State

November 17, 2021, 10:47 AM

(Posed photo: DepositPhotos)

A major flu outbreak at the University of Michigan triggers concerns among state officials at a time Covid is surging.

Public health officials are investigating more than 525 cases of influenza at the University of Michigan.

"This outbreak comes at a time when Covid-19 infections are again surging in Michigan, with case rates, positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths all increasing," says a Friday statement from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

State and local public health officials are concerned with the potential for increased strain on health systems if Covid-19 and influenza cases surge at the same time this winter.

In the past seven days, Michigan has recorded the worst Covid case rate per 100,000 people in the nation. In raw numbers, Michigan has the second-most daily cases, trailing only California -- which has four times the population.

The state reported an average of 7,281 daily cases for Tuesday and Wednesday and 242 deaths of which 177 were unearthed during a vital records search.

“As we head into respiratory virus season, it is important to take every mitigation measure we can to prevent outbreaks of the flu, RSV and Covid-19,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the governor's chief medical executive, says in today's announcement.

“Wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and getting vaccinated for the flu and Covid-19 will help prevent the spread of illness. Covid-19 vaccines and flu vaccines can be administered at the same time, and we encourage all eligible Michiganders to get theirs as soon as possible.”

A typical year like 2019-20 records 39 to 56 million estimated cases nationally, 18 to 26 million medical visits due to the flu and nearly half a million flu hospitalizations. The 2020-2021 flu recorded a low number as many people worked from home, wore masks and didn't socialize nearly as much as in the past.  

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