Vaccinated Grosse Pointe teacher hospitalized with COVID

Grosse Pointe Woods — A vaccinated teacher at Grosse Pointe North High School has been hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a memo sent Thursday to teachers in the district.

"I wanted to let you know that our vaccinated teacher who tested positive for COVID is now in the hospital," according to an email sent from Kathryn C. Murray, principal of the high school.

"Many of you have asked and are concerned about our dear friend and colleague. People are getting organized to figure out how to support her and her family. As things come together, we will share more details. In the meantime, please keep her in your prayers."

Efforts to reach Murray were unsuccessful Thursday. A representative for Murray would not comment, citing HIPAA laws and confidentiality.

On Wednesday, a letter from Murray was sent to parents and students about the teacher: "Today I received notice that a vaccinated North teacher tested positive for COVID. All the students and families of the close contacts have been notified. I also received notice that three students at North have tested positive for Covid-19. None of these three positive cases resulted in school based close contacts. Our total number of active student positive cases is 23, and we have 18 students who are in quarantine due to being a close contact."

William Nowling, a spokesman for Wayne County, said there are 31 COVID-positive cases that have been reported in the county 14 or more days after the individuals had their vaccine shots. These incidents, said Nowling, represent less than 1% of the completed vaccinations in Wayne County, and vaccines are effective in preventing infection after 14 days, he said.

Earlier this week, state health officials told The Detroit News that 246 Michigan residents considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 were later diagnosed with the coronavirus, and three have died.

The cases were reported between Jan. 1 and March 31, and the 246 had a positive test 14 or more days after the last dose in the vaccine series, said Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in an email.

"Some of these individuals may ultimately be excluded from this list due to continuing to test positive from a recent infection prior to being fully vaccinated," Sutfin said.

"These cases are undergoing further review to determine if they meet other CDC criteria for determination of potential breakthrough, including the absence of a positive antigen or PCR test less than 45 days prior to the post-vaccination positive test."

A spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta told The News Thursday in an email that such cases as the Grosse Pointe North High School teacher's have been reported.

"The teacher you mentioned below is not alone. There are similar cases around the country," said Martha Sharan. "Some of these are called 'breakthrough cases,' defined as: a person who has SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigen detected on a respiratory specimen collected ≥14 days after completing the primary series of an FDA-authorized SARS-CoV-2 vaccine."

Sharan added that in In clinical trials, "Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, had 94%+ efficacy, but that means that a small number of breakthrough cases of COVID-19 occurred among vaccinated trial participants, so we expect this to happen."

The CDC has a team of experts dedicated to investigating vaccine breakthrough cases, said Sharan, adding: "When we have enough data, CDC will be posting its findings on a CDC website."

For subscribers:How 'perfect storm' resulted in Michigan leading nation in new COVID-19 cases

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan continues to grow and the state leads the country in the number of new cases by population. On Thursday, the state added 7,819 new cases and 73 deaths.

The latest numbers of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly virus bring the state's total number of cases to 723,297 and deaths to 16,400 since it was first detected in Michigan in March 2020, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed.