'We are at capacity': Michigan hospitals seeing another rise in COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 hospital nurse
Posted at 8:18 AM, Nov 12, 2021

(WXYZ) — Health leaders across the state are sounding the alarm.

Beaumont Health says this is not the time to let your guard down, calling metro Detroit a COVID-19 ‘hot spot.’

Beaumont Health told 7 Action News that in the past 48 hours, COVID-19 hospitalizations have spiked.

“Generally, around 65 to 70 percent of all of COVID-19 patients in the hospital are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Nick Gilpin, the medical director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology at Beaumont Health.

He says this is causing hospitalizations to climb as metro Detroit enters the fourth COVID-19 wave.

“We have about 397 almost 400 COVID patients across our hospitals,” Dr. Gilpin said.

He says cooler weather is contributing to the increase. He also believes that the national message that COVID-19 is declining is causing people to let their guards down.

Gilpin says across the country that may be true, but that is not the case in the Midwest.

“We are seeing relaxed behaviors when it comes to masking, distancing. We are seeing more and more large gathering take place. We know that those are conditions that are going to make for more transmission,” he explained.

Henry Ford Health System is seeing similar trends. They say they currently have 243 hospitalizations compared to 172 last month.

“Our positivity rate is 16.8%, which is up from 14% a month ago. Like other hospitals, we are experiencing increased volumes and extended wait times in our ERs,” a spokesperson with the health system said.

On the west side of the state, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids is seeing record-breaking numbers at all its hospitals.

“Similar to Beaumont, we are at capacity. We have never been busier as far as inpatient COVID and non-COVID care. Our hospital census reached an all-time high this week and our numbers continue to go up,” said Dr. Joshua Kooistra, the chief medical director with Spectrum.

He says on Tuesday, their COVID-19 numbers were at 270. The number sits at 303 as of Thursday.

Kooista says they’ve already had to expand into different areas of the hospital where they don’t typically provide care.

“We have room to expand further, but if this pandemic continues in the direction we are going in the past month, we are going to run out of beds,” he said.

All the hospital systems say they are seeing extended wait times, but if you are experiencing a serious medical condition like chest pain or stroke, go to the closest emergency room for care.

“We continue to urge people to get their COVID and flu shots. If you’re eligible for a COVID booster, please get your booster shot. We also endorse mask wearing in public buildings, including for school-age children,” a spokesperson with Henry Ford said.

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