GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) —  Governor  Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel gave an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and the plan to slow the spread of the virus.

According to state officials, 40% of Michiganders remain unvaccinated and federal officials say the omicron variant, which is said to spread easier, is now making up for more than 70% of new infections.

In her press conference, Whitmer thanked those who have gotten the vaccine for helping to stop the spread.

She also spoke about the booster, and said the extra shot will help fight against the Omicron variant.

Whitmer said parents should consult their pediatricians with any questions that they have about the vaccine or booster shots.

Vaccines are the way we can keep kids in school, Whitmer said.

Next up, Hertel spoke about the current state of the virus in the state.

Hertel said that hospitals across the state are filling up and some have even had to close their emergency rooms.

The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 16.2 percent, Hertel said. Although that number is down slightly, it is still elevated.

Right now, there are 447 COVID-19 cases per million people in the state, but Hertel said she expect that number to go up with the spread of the Omicron variant.

Hertel said all of us are ready to move on from the pandemic, but COVID-19 is relentless.

Numbers from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show there’s been a nearly six-fold increase in the number of omicron’s cases nationwide in just a week.

Federal Health Officials are concerned this spike may lead to more hospitalizations, just as they are seeing in other states like New York.

Mid-Michigan health experts told 6 News the best way to avoid hospitalizations and getting severely ill, is to be vaccinated with all three shots or to be tested before heading out for the holidays.

The update will take place at 9:20 a.m. and Governor Whitmer will be joined by multiple other health experts to discuss the latest COVID-19 update.