GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Health care workers are urging people to take coronavirus seriously, as local ICUs fill up with very sick patients.
“Walking through our units it is very hard to see. When you talk to some of our doctors and nurses, they've never taken care of this many very sick patients at the same time,” Spectrum Health West Michigan President Dr. Darryl Elmouchi said.
Spectrum Health leaders painting a bleak picture as COVID-19 spreads rapidly through Michigan.
More than 340 people are hospitalized in their facilities right now and they are estimating that could nearly double over the next two weeks.
“We have opened additional ICU capacity across our hospitals, to the point where while we are very busy in our ICUs. We have additional capacity and if need be we can expand to be more, our nursing our doctors and truly been amazing in this regard, from a staffing standpoint, we are doing okay now,” Elmouchi said.
Things are continuing to trend in the wrong direction, Spectrum says the positivity rate of COVID-19 testing continues to go up, their 7-day rolling average is now around 18 percent.
Health care workers are once again calling on the community to take the virus seriously, mask up and social distance, to help ease the burden they are facing.
“It's a scary time, it's a hard time people are rallying around and doing this together. It really feels like a team but one of the most challenging things and we hear this so often is, ‘I go out there into the community and people challenge is COVID real?” Elmouchi said.
“People won't wear masks in public, folks are talking about a huge Thanksgiving party and if you go talk to our doctors, nurses and other staff they'll say, that just means I'm going to have to work that much harder and see that many more people die, a week from now, two weeks from now, three weeks from now,” Elmouchi said.
“Our strong feeling is the more we can all get the word out that this is real, real people taking care of real people, hopefully it will impact some folks and they'll change their behaviors, only until the vaccines are here and distributed,” Elmouchi added.
A light at the end of the tunnel, Spectrum Health leaders are hopeful with the latest news about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, saying they have the capacity in place to distribute vaccines effectively when they get authorized.