LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s COVID-19 surge is trending in a “deeply concerning direction” ahead of the winter holidays and, unlike a year ago, is not subsiding following Thanksgiving, state health officials said Friday while urging vaccines and booster shots.

Infection rates and hospitalizations are at all-time highs in the state 21 months into the pandemic. Vaccination rates lag the national average, especially among children and people in their 20s and 30s. Three in four patients hospitalized with the coronavirus are unvaccinated.

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“Michigan continues to trend in a deeply concerning direction heading into the Christmas holiday and the new year,” state health director Elizabeth Hertel said. She warned that the omicron variant — the first case of which was announced Thursday in Kent County — may be be more transmissible than the delta variant that is pounding the state.

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The state is deploying additional ventilators to hospitals and asking for more from the national stockpile.

“For individuals who have not yet been vaccinated, I want to be absolutely clear: You are risking serious illness, hospitalization, and even death,” Hertel said. “If you have yet to receive the vaccine or you are not yet fully vaccinated, it is not a matter of if you will get sick but when.”

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