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Michigan hospitals close to COVID capacity as expert warns of ‘new pandemic’



April 15 – At least eight Michigan hospitals were included at full capacity for patients with COVID-19 on Thursday as Michigan’s largest hospital system said it was approaching its capacity, Beaumont Health CEO John Fox called “disturbing and anxious”.

Beaumont Health issued an “emergency warning” that the number of hospitalized patients increased from 128 on February 28 to more than 800 on Thursday, more patients than they had during the autumn rush of coronavirus cases. Beaumont Farmington Hills, Royal Oak and Troy hospitals are listed as full – with 100% capacity, according to the Michigan Health and Hospital Association database.

The Southfield-based system has called on Metro Detroit residents to “personally take immediate steps”

; to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, as most of its eight hospitals reach 95% capacity.

The five hospitals in Henry Ford’s healthcare system operate at 90% to 95% capacity, depending on the day, Chief Operating Officer Robert Rainey told a news conference on Thursday. According to the hospital association’s database, Ascension’s Macomb-Oakland-Warren Hospital and its Borgess, Genesys and St. Joseph.

In general, Metro Detroit hospitals have or are close to their capacity, with COVID-19 having a capacity of 75% to 100%, according to government data.

Health officials attribute the increase in cases in Michigan to a combination of COVID variants, including B.1.1.7, a UK variant for which Michigan has the second highest number of cases in the country; lack of herd immunity; hesitation to receive the vaccine; and the cold Michigan weather, driving more people indoors.

“This option seems like a whole new pandemic to me because it’s more virulent, highly contagious, and causes serious disease,” said Dr. Tina Chopra, a professor of infectious disease at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

Beaumont’s Fox acknowledges that they now have a better understanding of the virus from the first two waves in the spring and fall of 2020, as well as effective vaccines, but said more action is needed.

“To level the curve again, we all need to work together now: Wear masks, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and get vaccinated,” he said. “We can’t do this alone. We need everyone’s help immediately.”

The latest leap has put a strain on medical staff who have been working to help patients fight the virus for more than a year, Beaumont said.

Overexertion exhausts workers

Hospital health workers are walking in southeastern Michigan, Chopra said, arguing that people need to be isolated to stop the spread.

“We have to do what we’ve done in the past, and it worked for us,” she said. “Isolation is something we have control over. Shutting down is a good way to reduce the wave.”

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University, a pediatrician who helped uncover the Flint water crisis, made the same suggestion. Hannah-Atisha called on Twitter on Wednesday that the state had “shut down”, noting that a friend who was a nurse was “overwhelmed” and the nurse’s hospital was using tents because there was no room in the emergency department.

Beaumont’s Grosse Pointe Hospital created a triage trailer as a workplace for staff as it evaluated incoming patients with a curb in their cars.

“Patients who are considered stable with COVID symptoms go home and have vital signs,” and testing ends if they are stable enough, said Brad Lucas, chief nursing director at Grosse Pointe. “… If they need more extensive work, they are taken to the hospital.”

Michigan hospitals are worried about the increase in admissions, said John Karasinski, a spokesman for the Michigan Association of Health and Hospitals.

“Concerns about the growing number of hospital admissions and the approaching capacity are being felt across the country,” Karasinski said. “As with other jumps, the main concern for capacity is the level of staff.”

A significant number of employees are sick with COVID-19 or on vacation due to spring break, he said. A good proportion of health workers have been reassigned to provide vaccinations, he added.

“Our hospitals have been working with vaccination clinics for the last few months, but that requires staff to be hired for those clinics,” Karasinski said.

Chopra said more than 60% of cases in Michigan were caused by the more infectious variant in the United Kingdom. Michigan had 3,023 cases with the option in the UK by Thursday.

The country also has 11 confirmed cases of option B.1.351, which appeared in South Africa; 23 cases and 34 cases of B.1.427 and B.1.429, respectively, first discovered in California, respectively; and 17 cases with option P.1 or Brazil, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“This time we are better equipped,” Chopra said. “We know how to do a virtual school, we know how to take care of our health without going to the gym, spending more time outside. But I think things are really a combination of vaccinations and some exclusions at the moment.”

Nearly 29 percent of Michigan adults over the age of 16 were fully vaccinated by Thursday, according to the state health department’s website.

Cases and hospitalizations in Michigan have been increasing for seven weeks, an increase. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tried to respond by requesting a voluntary two-week break for personal schooling, indoor eating and youth sports. She also asked the Biden administration to increase vaccines, but the administration said it would continue to administer vaccines to countries based on the population.

Rainey said Henry Ford’s health care supports Whitmer’s decision to encourage people to “do the right thing” by wearing masks and pushing for the voluntary shutdown of schools and indoor catering establishments and avoiding mandatory epidemic orders.

“We have to rely on everyone’s awareness and commitment to work together to resolve this,” he said.

Michigan set a new record of 4,011 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, surpassing the peaks of spring and fall in 2020. By Thursday, their number had fallen slightly to 3,960 hospitalized adults – still about a 300% jump from a month ago. Of those hospitalized on Thursday, 833 patients are in inpatient care and 497 are on ventilators.

Michigan has an 18% infection rate. The percentage of tests for COVID-19 with a positive result is nearly 21% in Detroit, where 419 people are hospitalized.

Detroit Mayor Mike Dugan warned residents Wednesday that if the city continues on the road of 700 new cases a day, the racial health care gap in the region will widen if city hospitals are overwhelmed with suburban residents.

“Lower vaccination levels make our neighbors vulnerable in a terrible way,” Dugan told the city during a news conference Wednesday. “The worst is yet to come. There is no doubt that this wave will continue to spread in our city and we must defend ourselves.”

Dr Adnan Munkara, chief clinical officer of Henry Ford’s healthcare system, told a press conference Wednesday with Whitmer that patients with COVID-19 had risen from 75 to 550 in the past five weeks.

“The incidence rate in inpatients is 1 in 25 and is now 1 in 5. This is extremely worrying,” Munkara said.

Why the rooms in the ER are crowded

In the Michigan Emergency Department, the number of patients with COVID was similar to last spring. But the situation is complicated by patients who disappeared from the emergency department during the wave of spring 2020 – people with cardiac arrest or symptoms of stroke or victims of accidents, said Dr. Brad Uren, emergency doctor and associate professor. in emergency medicine from the University of Michigan medicine.

Uren stressed that patients with cardiac arrest and stroke should continue to come to the hospital and noted their continued presence this spring as a positive change since the last jump, when people avoided the emergency department and increased the risk of death.

“There is always a concern that we would unnecessarily make people stay at home,” said a concern about capacity, said a doctor of health care at the University of Michigan. “That’s not what we want. But with the combination of normal volume and COVID overvoltage, it’s really starting to strain the system.”

The situation is complicated by the fact that hospitals continue to provide a full range of health services – unlike last spring, when care outside of COVID-19 was closed across the country by order of Whitmer, said Karasinski of the hospital association.

“The difference between this spring and last spring is that almost all outpatient clinics are still operating, where in the past some of this staff was assigned to the hospital,” he said. “Now that virtually all health services are available, it’s not such a big deal.”

Why is Michigan rising?

About 28% of Michigan residents are fully vaccinated, 43% have at least one dose, “and that’s far from where we need to be to get those herd immunity numbers that will really put that under control,” he said. Dr. Nick Gilpin, Medical Director of Beaumont for Infection Prevention and Epidemiology. Whitmer’s goal is to reach 70% of the adult population.

The increase is due to a younger demographic of unvaccinated residents, Gilpin said.

“We know that there are specific variables here. We know that option B.1.1.7 UK is more portable and another third variable is environmentally friendly,” he said. “While we’re enjoying this time in Michigan, it’s still conducive to more indoor activities, so people continue to gather indoors, and cooler, slightly drier air is better for this virus to move around. . “

He noted that larger states such as Florida and Texas, which were affected early in the pandemic, have a better climate and people are safer to spend more time outdoors.

“I think it’s a bit of a perfect storm to explain why Michigan is where we are right now,” Gilpin said.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

srahal@detroitnews.com

kbouffard@detroitnews.com


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