Despite nearing capacity, Bronson says don't put off inpatient visits

Doctors say they aren't in full panic mode yet
Posted at 5:46 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 18:40:24-04

(WXMI) — Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo reached 99% capacity this week, but they aren’t putting too much stock into the number that, at first, seems alarming.

And it certainly shouldn’t stop you from seeking medical care if you need it.

“We are not necessarily staying at a level of capacity that would prevent us from being able to provide care,” said Bronson Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Martinson Arnan. “We do not want people to put off seeking care for any health condition.”

READ MORE: Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo nearing COVID-19 capacity

Dr. Arnan says the level of patients fluctuates daily and that the 99% statistic isn’t set in stone. Inpatients are still encouraged to seek treatment, and at this point, Bronson is diverting ambulance traffic and not accepting regional patients, but no drastic measures are in place across their four Michigan hospitals.

“It is very, very rare, and we have not gotten to that point yet where we remain at capacity consistently for a long time,” said Dr. Arnan.

Likewise, Dr. Arnan says health professionals have learned a lot in a year of fighting the virus. Much of their staff is now vaccinated, they have more testing capabilities and PPE, and they now have better protocols for dealing with COVID.

“We can actually do both things well; we’ve created protocols to allow us to safely care for non-COVID patients as well as COVID patients,” said Dr. Arnan. “All the things that we learned since March of last year up to now have equipped us to provide care safely.”

Thursday, Bronson had 74 COVID patients taking up beds across their four Michigan hospitals. It’s a far cry from the best (15 patients on March 8, 2021) and from the worst (105 cases on Nov. 17, 2020), but Bronson is hopeful that vaccinations will even out the surge in cases, and soon.

“We have to certainly commit to doing some of the things that we know can change the path and trajectory of this disease,” said Dr. Arnan. “Get vaccinated, wear our masks, practice safe distancing, because that’s the only way to give our frontline staff a chance.”

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