Major Northern Michigan health system goes 'red' to care for COVID-19 patients

Posted at 11:51 AM, Nov 10, 2021

(AP) — A major health care provider in northern Michigan said it is putting an emphasis on COVID-19 care and reducing other services after a spike in the region.

Munson Healthcare, based in Traverse City, said it moved its pandemic response to a “red” stage in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.

“It’s the first time in Munson Healthcare history that we made that decision,” chief medical officer Christine Nefcy said Tuesday. “Of course, this is the first pandemic we’ve all dealt with in 100 years as well.”

Munson had a test positivity rate of 22 percent by Sunday. About 100 people with COVID-19 were in Munson hospitals, including 56 in Traverse City, the Record-Eagle reported.

At least 24 people have died since Oct. 26, Nefcy said.

The Leland school district, 25 miles north of Traverse City, said schools would be closed Friday. It encouraged staff and students to get vaccinated.

Superintendent Stephanie Long said the sudden decision to close before the weekend was necessary “given the recent uptick in positive cases affecting our school and local community.”