LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — 2022 has kicked off with a surge of omicron COVID-19 cases across the country and in Mid-Michigan, creating long lines at testing sites.

State health experts say daily new case positivity rates are hitting record numbers which are not expected to slow down as new cases continue to appear after the holiday.

As of Monday, Jan. 5. the state of Michigan reported more than 60,000 positive COVID-19 cases.

The Sparrow Frandor testing site in Lansing has seen days where hundreds of cars are wrapped around the building waiting for a COVID-19 test.

Officials say the omicron variant is more transmissible which is causing this surge, adding the state can expect staffing shortages, hospitals to be at capacity, and long lines at testing sites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last week hospital admissions across the country were averaging 14,800 per day, which is less than this time last year when many Americans weren’t vaccinated.

Doctor Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, says this all leads back to mask-wearing and being vaccinated.

“Michigan is a state that is below the national average in terms of vaccination levels, so we’re below the national average overall. And then we do especially poorly in some of our younger age groups, and some of our specific geographic areas around the state; so we know that there are communities who are much less protected, and that’s really troublesome.”

Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Chief Medical Executive for the state of Michigan

The state of Michigan has sent out more than 120,000 test kits to kids through the MI Backpack Program according to Bagdasarian, and is planning to distribute over-the-counter tests to libraries and YMCAs across the state.

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