Spectrum Health issues letter urging community to take COVID-19 precautions

Posted at 7:55 PM, Nov 19, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese Decker issued a letter Thursday to patients and the community, pleading with them to take precautions to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

In the letter, Decker highlights the high test positivity and hospitalization rates West Michigan is seeing.

And because the current surge of the virus is happening across the state and country at the same time, there is "limited opportunity" to share staff and transfer patients.

Read the full letter:

To our patients and community,We have stood strong, together, tackling the many challenges of these past months with commitment and hope. Last spring, we came together as a community and flattened the curve of COVID-19.I’m reaching out to you today because things have changed drastically. COVID-19 is now surging like never before in our communities, and we need your help.

  • Of the thousands of tests we conduct every day, more than 18% of people tested are positive.
  • Hospitalizations have quadrupled in the last four weeks — now five times higher than our peak in the spring.
  • People are coming to us very, very sick. And one in 10 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are dying. This virus is affecting all groups, young and old, across all populations.
  • Because hospitals throughout our state and nation are experiencing the surge at the same time, there is very limited opportunity to share staff and transfer patients.

Our teams of doctors, nurses, caregivers and support staff are working tirelessly to do everything possible to battle this virus. But — we cannot do it without your help.

We know what works to slow the spread of this deadly virus.

Wear a mask; they do protect you and others. Wash your hands often. Stay socially distant. Avoid all gatherings.

I know this is hard, but the sacrifices you are making now truly will save lives.

I and all of our team members at Spectrum Health remain so grateful for our community standing strong with us.

Thank you.