Even hedged with qualifiers -- "appears to," "may be" and even "too early to tell" -- the latest Covid-19 data in Detroit is encouraging, at least in connection with the highly contagious omicron variant, which has been surging in the area since mid-December.
Adults hospitalized with confirmed cases of Covid-19 are down slightly to 4,453 Wednesday from 4,579 on Jan. 14. The decline appears to be happening in Southeast Michigan, which was the first region in the state to get hit with the highly-contagious omicron variant, providing possible insight into how the more contagious variant will impact hospitalizations statewide in the coming days.
At Henry Ford Health System on Wednesday there were 499 hospitalized across the system's five hospitals, down from 551 on Monday. The positivity rate, the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests given at the health system, was down to 33 percent versus 44 percent one week earlier.
At Beaumont's eight hospitals, the 753 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid infections at the start of this week were 101 fewer than seven days earlier on Jan. 10.
Across the tricounty Metro Detroit region and three neighboring counties, state data Wednesday shows 181 fewer hospitalized adult Covid patients and 20 fewer pediatric patients than were counted last Friday.
The drop isn't as pronounced in total state data, released Wednesay afternoon. With no release on the Monday holiday, the state is reporting a five-day (S,S,M,T,W) average of 17,202 cases, statewide, along with 501 deaths. However, positive testing in Detroit is down to about 27 percent, down sharply from almost 46 percent on Jan. 2.
Statewide hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected coronavirus fell by 99 adult patients and 13 pediatric cases since Friday.
Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, warned that it's too early to tell if we've eclipsed the worst of omicron or COVID-19.
"I am always optimistic," she said. "What we know is we anticipated a quick rise and fall to this, but whether we're on the downside yet, I don't know."
The next data release from the state health department comes Friday.