‘The health care system can capsize’: Michigan hospitals rapidly filling with COVID-19 patients

Beaumont Health CEO: ‘The health care system can capsize if you don’t keep it under control’

A health care worker helping COVID-19 patients. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (Petr David Josek, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Michigan hospitals are rapidly filling with COVID-19 patients once again, and experts are warning residents that if this trend continues, it will be disastrous for the state’s health care system.

Brian Peters, the CEO of the Michigan Heath and Hospital Association, spoke about the state’s latest rise in COVID-19 cases during a virtual panel discussion Thursday. The MHA represents all the hospitals and health systems throughout Michigan.

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“I can tell you, very clearly, that we are squarely in the midst of a public health crisis,” Peters said.

The MHA is seeing warning signs from all hospitals -- from the small, rural hospitals to the largest urban systems -- in every corner of that state, he said.

“Our hospitals are rapidly filling with COVID-19 patients at a very alarming rate,” Peters said. “If this continues in the coming weeks, we will surpass our all-time record high in terms of COVID-19 inpatient hospitalization numbers here in the state of Michigan.”

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He called on Michiganders to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands to try to avoid that stress on the health care system.

“We need to take this very seriously, because not only are the numbers alarming -- people are dying,” Peters said. “Michiganders need to understand how serious this virus truly is.”

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John Fox, the president and CEO of Beaumont Health, said community behavior is what’s driving the spread of the virus. He and other state health care leaders are concerned about what’s ahead for hospitals if the trends don’t reverse.

“If we don’t do it, there’ll be all sorts of consequences for our communities that we don’t want to go through,” Fox said. “We don’t want to go back into the spring of this year, when it really was getting to be a very difficult situation. The health care system can capsize if you don’t keep it under control.”

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.