Michigan hospitals filling up as COVID-19 case, positivity rates continue to soar

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says state’s hospitals are 79% full on average

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, of MDHHS, at a Nov. 19, 2020, COVID-19 press briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan hospitals are filling up at an alarming rate as COVID-19 case and positivity rates across the state continue to soar, according to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

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Khaldun, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, updated some of the state’s COVID-19 numbers during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s press briefing Thursday afternoon.

Khaldun said case rates in Michigan currently range from 418 COVID-19 cases per million people in the Traverse City to 934 cases per million people in the Grand Rapids Region.

The Traverse City Region has the lowest test positivity rate, at 9%. The Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo regions have the highest test positivity rate in Michigan, at 16%.

Khaldun said all eight of the state’s geographical regions are seeing “alarming case and test positivity rates.”

Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s what to know Nov. 19, 2020

“Our hospitals are closer and closer to becoming overwhelmed,” Khaldun said. “They are on average 79% full, and they are becoming more and more full of COVID-19 patients. Michigan, in fact, has the fourth-highest number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the country, behind Texas, Illinois and California.”

She said the public health system is becoming overwhelmed by the number of COVID-19 patients, including case investigators and contact tracers.

“It is very possible that if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, our contact tracers may not be able to get in touch with you quickly enough to let you know that you need to quarantine,” Khaldun said.

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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.