Hospital capacities 'worse now' than doctors have seen in months

Top doctors at Mercy Health and Spectrum say in-patients battling COVID are in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
Posted at 6:18 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 18:28:06-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dr. Andrew Jameson of Mercy Health said he’s “super worried” about the situation at St. Mary’s hospital right now. Last week, he was at the hospital for infectious disease services and saw just how sick people are.

“We've seen the number of people that are on ventilators going up significantly,” Dr. Jameson said who’s the Division Chief of Infectious Diseases and the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Mercy Health St. Mary's. “We've seen just people dying that didn't need to. So, it's much worse right now than it has been in months.”

Dr. Jameson said that not everyone in the hospital is battling COVID-19. However, admissions and cases are up. Three of their floors at St. Mary's are filled with COVID patients and the people admitted are younger than the ones last year when they treated elderly people.

“This year, we're seeing people ages 20, 30, and 40, that are predominantly affected in the ICU. We have put people in their 40s on the ventilator last week at an increasing rate and it's extremely worrisome,” Dr. Jameson said during an interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday afternoon. “What we're seeing right now is that kids are getting infected at school and they're bringing it to their parents and they're bringing it to their grandparents.”

Spectrum Health said they too are seeing younger patients at their hospitals. They held a virtual media briefing on Tuesday to show how dire circumstances were within their group.

“This is as of middle of last week when we had 272 hospitalized in-patients, 85 percent of those folks of the in-patients were unvaccinated,” said Dr. Darryl Elmouchi while showing a slide titled Spectrum Health COVID-19 hospitalizations. “Of our ICU patients, 94 percent were unvaccinated and of those patients on a ventilator, 95 percent unvaccinated.”

Dr. Elmouchi added across all of their hospitals there’s 367 in-patients battling COVID-19. However, he noted that the people who are unvaccinated are “markedly younger” than those who are vaccinated by an average of 11-20 years.

So, he and Dr. Jameson stressed the importance of getting vaccinated.

“I can tell you I've never seen or I have not seen any hospitalized side effects from a vaccine in a really, really long time,” said Dr. Jameson. “So, our hospitals getting filled up with unvaccinated, COVID positive [patients], and no one is getting sick from the vaccine. So, we really need people to jump on this right now because it's going to get worse before it gets better. It's so hard right now."

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