(CBS DETROIT) - Getting together with family and friends for the holiday is a highlight of the season, but experts say it could be the cause behind a spike in covid cases.
"We're really at a critical place with this pandemic and this new variant it is highly contagious," said Dr. Patricia Wilkerson-Uddyback, Vice President of Academics and Community Affairs with Detroit Medical Center.
Wilkerson-Uddyback says there's an uptick in covid hospitalizations following the Christmas holiday.
"Yes, just like everyone else, we have started to see a surge in cases," Wilkerson-Uddyback said.
"Patients coming to our emergency rooms testing positive. Our in-patient admissions have increased as well. The majority of the admissions right now for Covid-19 are those individuals who are not vaccinated."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Omicron has the potential to spread easier than previous variants, like Delta.
The U.S. reported its first confirmed Omicron case December 1st.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 13 cases in the state December 22nd.
Two days after Christmas, rates quadrupled in Michigan.
"You make sure everybody who's coming to your event is vaccinated and that's not negotiable," Wilkerson-Uddyback explained.
"You know, do you actually ask people for their cards, in some instances you might need to do that. I think these are dire times and they call for dire measures."
Not all covid cases are tested to identify particular variants.
The MDHHS randomly tests 400 samples weekly, so actual Omicron infections could be higher than what confirmed reports reflect.
Leading up to the New Year, doctors recommend keeping celebrations small, but the best option is to cancel gatherings all together.
"We're really at a critical place with this pandemic and this new variant," Wilkerson-Uddyback said.
"It is highly contagious. So I think any large groups for a party or some kind of social event is not responsible."
Health experts continue to stress social distancing, masks wearing and good hand hygiene.
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