Oakland County Sheriff Bouchard tests positive for COVID-19 variant
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard announced Tuesday he has contracted the COVID-19 omicron variant and will be leading the department by working remotely from home.
Bouchard said he tested positive for the highly contagious variant after being out in the public and "in regular contact with a great number of people."
"Even though I choose to be fully vaccinated and received the booster shot, the omicron variant was still able to catch up with me," Bouchard said in a statement. "I had assumed it was not a question of whether it caught up to me given the duties of a first responder, but when. Per our protocols, I will be in quarantine, but I will continue to work remotely."
The sheriff said he is experiencing many of the symptoms associated with the virus, such as a headache, congestion, exhaustion and other assorted aches.
The Sheriff’s Office has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with more than 170 of its 1,400 employees currently off work because they either have contracted COVID-19 or were exposed to it.
Bouchard said early in the pandemic, he ordered regular testing for employees — regardless of vaccination status — to help keep them and the public protected.
Michigan's Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said he also tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday but is showing no symptoms.
On Monday — 22 months after Michigan detected its first COVID-19 cases — the state reached a record tally for COVID-19 hospitalizations. The state reported 4,674 individuals were hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus. The previous high was 4,566 on Dec. 13.
About 90% of the new cases in some regions of Michigan are omicron infections, Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state's chief medical executive, said in a Tuesday update. Overall, the health department has been reporting record-high totals of new cases in recent weeks, including 112,562 over the last seven days.
The current surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations could send an "already stressed" health care system "over the edge," Michigan's top health officials said Tuesday.