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Michigan health leaders to make big COVID-19 announcement today as cases spike

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Posted at 6:18 AM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 08:46:56-05

Big news is expected Thursday from the state’s health leaders, including the heads of Henry Ford, Beaumont, and Spectrum Health Systems.

The announcement, related to COVID-19, is expected at 9:30 a.m. via a virtual press conference.

This comes as Michigan sees record-breaking new case numbers and a surge in hospitalizations from the virus.

Statewide in just the past 26 days, there's been a 215 percent spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, 146 percent increase in patients on ventilators, and a 137 percent increase in patients in the ICU.

With hospitalizations way up, while at the same time hospitals like Henry Ford, and Beaumont are also limiting visitation in an effort to stop further spread.

CEOs of six Michigan health systems, including Henry Ford, are involved in the announcement. And this comes as hospitals in West Michigan are nearing capacity due to the novel coronavirus.

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With just weeks before the start of holiday celebrations, Michigan health leaders are pleading with the public, as the CDC recommends Thanksgiving only with immediate family members.

“Given what we’re seeing here in West Michigan, we are very fearful that if big groups start getting together the spread will go on even further," said Dr. Darryl Elmochi, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, a subgroup of Spectrum Health.

WATCH: Spectrum Health holds COVID-19 briefing

The Spectrum Health system, which includes 12 hospitals, is nearing capacity in the traditional sense, as the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has tripled in the last 20 days.

“We at present still have room, however that room is relatively limited," said Dr. Elmochi. “We’ve converted other floors to COVID units, converted rooms that weren’t ICU rooms to ICU rooms. And what we’ve learned from hospitals in Detroit and New York early in the pandemic, that you can absolutely expand capacity if you truly need this.”

Here in metro Detroit, hospitalizations are also surging. In the past three weeks, there has been 193 percent spike in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — with an 83 percent increase in patients on ventilators.

Statewide, numbers are also climbing in the wrong direction, surpassing records set back in the spring.

Thursday's announcement, hosted by the executive chairman of DTE Energy Gerry Anderson, includes updates from the heads of these major health systems, all battling the strain of this second wave:

  • Beaumont CEO John Fox
  • Henry Ford Health System CEO Wright Lassiter III
  • Munson Healthcare President and CEO Ed Ness
  • Spectrum Health CEO and President Tina Freese Decker
  • Michigan Health & Hospital Association CEO Brian Peters
  • Gar Atchison, CEO and Market President at UP Health System

Back in the spring, TCF Center was converted to address hospital capacity. TCF even relied on FEMA to help staff the site.