Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is seeing its most rapid spread of COVID-19, and hospitals are trying to keep up without the same resources as the more populated areas of the state.
Gar Atchison, the CEO of UP Health System-Marquette and market CEO of UP Health System, joined a discussion among state hospital system leaders Thursday to talk about how COVID-19 is being handled in the Upper Peninsula.
“The hospital systems in the UP are really working as a collective unit, dealing with the COVID-19 rise,” Atchison said. “We are seeing some pretty rapid increases, some pretty alarming case rates.”
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Some hospitals and testing centers in the Upper Peninsula are seeing test positivity rates of 30% multiple days in a row, Atchison said.
UP Health System-Marquette is the safety net hospital for the Upper Peninsula, so what happens when the region hits capacity is a major concern for Atchison.
“We are seeing most of our patients, especially in the ICU level care, coming from other counties," Atchison said. “A lot from Delta County, down in Escanaba, which is having very high positivity rate. The UP hospitals -- we have good bed capacity. ICU capacity outside of Marquette is fairly limited, so that’s the number that I’m paying most attention to.”
He said 61% of patients in ICU beds in the Upper Peninsula are COVID-19 patients.
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You can listen to Atchison’s full comments below.