Henry Ford Health System Urges Continued Vigilance with Mask Wearing, Other Safety Measures

March 29, 2021
dr munkarah

DETROIT (March 29, 2021) – Amid increased numbers in COVID-19 hospitalizations at Henry Ford Health System, Chief Clinical Officer Adnan Munkarah, M.D., stressed vigilance with mask wearing, social distancing and other safety measures to mitigate the spread of infections from worsening.

“We are truly at an inflection point today,” Dr. Munkarah said during remarks at a news briefing Monday. “The progress we have been making with vaccinations gives us a lot of hope that the end of the pandemic is within reach. At the same time, the numbers we are seeing at the national level but specifically in Michigan are definitely worrisome.”

Michigan has seen an increase of 133% in cases the past two weeks and a doubling of hospitalizations in that same period. At Henry Ford’s hospitals, 245 patients are hospitalized and another 60 were awaiting admission from the Emergency Department or with suspected COVID-19 awaiting a test result. Henry Ford’s positivity rate for testing was 16% and people who are presenting with symptoms at the Emergency Department or an outpatient setting, 35–40% are testing positive for COVID-19.

As a result, Dr. Munkarah said, visitor restrictions were reinstated at Henry Ford Hospital, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. He said the health system continues to maintain a full scope of services for COVID and non-COVID patients.

“We do believe that between vaccinations and adhering to all the safety measures, we can prevent this surge from getting worse,” Dr. Munkarah said. “We need to stay vigilant and continue to use all the safety measures that have helped us in the past – wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, washing our hands. We can do it again and now we’re going to be helped by vaccinating people. This not the time to give up.”

Dr. Munkarah cited a Henry Ford study recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine as evidence that mask wearing reduces the risk of acquiring COVID.

On Monday, Henry Ford achieved two milestones since it began vaccinations on Dec. 17, 2020:

  • More than 204,000 doses of vaccine have been administered.
  • More than 100,700 people are now fully vaccinated.

Starting on April 5, anyone 16 years and older will be eligible to receive their vaccination, a move that is expected to accelerate the pace of vaccinations at Henry Ford and across Michigan. Dr. Munkarah encouraged people to start making their plan now for getting vaccinated, given the multiple of options available to the general public. He also asked people to keep their vaccination appointments to avoid vaccine from potentially being wasted, given limited vaccine supply at the time.

He said for Michigan to achieve herd immunity, between 70 – 90% of people would have to have some level of immunity. Currently, Michigan is reporting that 31% of residents are vaccinated.

“We still have a ways to go. And while we are waiting for that, we need to continue to protect ourselves and to protect our community,” Dr. Munkarah said. “I’m really hopeful we can finally turn the corner on this pandemic. (But) this virus is telling us it’s not over yet. There are things we need to do, there are things we need to be careful about, and we need to be cautious not to lower our guards too early so we don’t get into problems again.”


About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes Henry Ford Medical Group, with more than 1,900 physicians and researchers practicing in more than 50 specialties at locations throughout Southeast and Central Michigan. Acute care hospitals include Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, MI – both Magnet® hospitals; Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.

The largest of these is Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a quaternary care research and teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center recognized for clinical excellence in cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and multi-organ transplants. The health system also provides comprehensive, best-in-class care for cancer at the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, and orthopedics and sports medicine at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine – both in Detroit.

As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System annually trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations.

Henry Ford’s not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan (HAP), provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people

Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals.

MEDIA CONTACT: David Olejarz / [email protected] / 313-303-0606