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Michigan hospitals could reach capacity in a matter of months if virus cases continue to surge, leaders say

Michigan hospitals could reach capacity in a matter of months during COVID spike, leaders say
Posted at 8:14 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 08:14:08-05
(WXYZ) —

As hospitalizations at Beaumont and across the state are now triple what they were a month ago, health care workers are sounding the alarm in anticipation of another surge.

“We kind of see that storm on the horizon," said Dr. Justin Skrzynski, a physician at Royal Oak Beaumont who works with COVID patients. "We’re not sure when it’s going to hit or how bad it’s going to be, but its not a good mood over there right now.”

Dr. Skryzinski has been in the COVID unit since the start of the pandemic. Right now the health system has more than 400 COVID patients, while statewide there are more than 3,000.

“The atmosphere there is really tense right now," Dr. Skrzynski said of his floor. "No one wants to do March and April again. No one wants to do another surge again.”

However, that’s exactly where health care leaders say we’re trending. They called a special press conference Thursday with the hospital executives from across the state to spread the word.

“We are squarely in the midst of a public health crisis,” said Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. "We need to take this very seriously because not only are the numbers alarming, people are dying. Michiganders really need to understand how serious this virus truly is.”

Michigan hospitals are now reporting double digit positivity rates, some above 15%. That number was in the low single digits just weeks ago.

With cases up statewide, a surge could push small hospitals, especially in northern Michigan, to a breaking point.

“Things have been good and hospitalized patients have been doing better because we've got so many resources right now," Dr. Skrzynski said. "If we start to tax those and run out, then you are going to see deaths on the same scale that you saw back in March and April unfortunately.”

That's why the alarm is being sounded now. Hospital leaders say there is still time to reverse the trend, and they hope Michiganders will listen and do their part to keep cases down.

"We can turn this around, but at the current rate it’s not turning and it could be a much more serious situation,” said John Fox, CEO of Beaumont Health.