COVID-19 hospitalizations in Michigan hit record high, health systems in West Michigan managing

Spectrum Health Emergency Room
Posted at 10:31 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 08:34:40-04

MICHIGAN — The number of people in the hospital being treated for COVID19 reached an all-time high on Tuesday.

According to state data, 4,158 patients are hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus, with 663 patients locally. There are 896 people in the ICU and 530 people are on a ventilator.

While the east side of Michigan is behind much of those numbers, doctors say West Michigan is nowhere in the clear.

“Our trend is still going in that upward direction,” said Dr. Joshua Kooistra, chief medical officer at Spectrum Health West Michigan.

According to Kooistra, Spectrum Health is nearing hospitalization records of their own. Currently there are 314 patients, with about a quarter in the ICU. Last November, the health system hit a high, treating 358 patients.

Adding to the issue, Kooistra says, is Spectrum seeing its normal levels for other inpatient admissions, such as routine illnesses and injuries.

“Our capacity is becoming strained,” said Kooistra. “Like in the fall, we are deferring some non-emergent or urgent procedures that could be safely deferred until our capacity will allow us to care for our patient population.”

Regionally, Mercy Health is seeing a “slow increase” at its hospitals in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, with numbers shifting from the low 40s and 50s to upper 40s and 50s. The trend is translating to its ICU admissions.

At Ascension Borgess in Kalamazoo, data shows it’s two cases from hitting its highest number of patients since mid-December.

Bronson Healthcare saw a recent peak at its hospital in Kalamazoo with 73 patients, however the health system says its four hospitals saw a 10 percent reduction in hospitalizations over the weekend. A spokeswoman said it’s too early to tell if the worst is behind them.

“Our teams are fatigued, but still have the mission to care for our community and do so in the best way possible,” said Kooistra.

According to Gov. Whiter, youth sports, COVID-19 fatigue, and variants are behind the increased numbers.

SEE MORE: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says COVID-19 infections could be dropping in Michigan

Health officials are urging people to continue to mask up, social distance, wash their hands, and get vaccinated. Kooistra says at Spectrum, the number of people hospitalized in the 70+ age group is not rising like the other age groups.

The West Michigan Vaccine Clinic has appointments open this week. To sign up, click here.

“That alone should encourage people in those younger age groups to really go out and get vaccinated,” said Kooistra. “If you have the opportunity and you’re eligible to do so, I would encourage everybody to sign up and get your vaccine.”

SEE MORE: Weekly COVID update with Dr. Abha: Kids & masks, resuming J & J vaccine

SEE MORE: Spectrum Health offering antibody treatment to positive patients at risk for severe COVID-19