‘Breaking point’: Beaumont hospitals have 750 COVID patients, 430 workers out with virus

‘Community action more critical than ever’

Beaumont Health

DEARBORN, Mich.Beaumont Health is reporting that health care is at a “breaking point,” with more than 750 COVID patients currently in its hospitals and more than 430 employees out with symptoms.

Officials with the hospital system said that 62% of the COVID patients at its eight hospitals are unvaccinated. Only 8% of patients have had their booster shot.

Beaumont officials said community action is “more critical than ever.”

Due to the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant, there has been a 40% increase in the number of COVID patients being treated at Beaumont over the past week, according to a release.

”The omicron variant is one of the most contagious viruses we have seen in our lifetime,” said Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont Health’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology. “It’s more important than ever for the community to help contain the spread of this illness. Our health care systems are overwhelmed.

“If you have ignored our pleas for help before, now is the time to take action. We need everyone’s help to get through this fourth surge. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.

Elective procedures

This week, Beaumont leadership asked each hospital to strongly consider reducing elective surgical procedures, outpatient imaging and testing, according to the release.

“By limiting elective medical care, the health system will be able to dedicate more staff to caring for patients who require care in the hospital,” the release says. “This includes COVID patients, trauma, oncology and acute medical issues.”

Visitation rules

Due to rising COVID positivity rates, Beaumont recently adjusted its visitation policy to protect patients, staff members and visitors.

Patients who don’t have COVID or COVID symptoms can still have one support person or visitor each day, regardless of vaccination status. But under the new guidelines, that person can’t alternate with others throughout the day without receiving prior approval.

This policy went into effect Dec. 31 and includes postpartum patients, according the Beaumont.

“Support from family and friends is important, but so is protecting our patients and health care workers,” Gilpin said. “Our goal is to help everybody get through this latest surge. To accomplish that, your compassion and understanding will go a long way. Please be kind to our staff. They are also struggling. They are doing their best to follow steps to protect the health and safety of all patients.”

Emergency center patients can have one support person with them until they enter the evaluation and treatment process. If a support person is unable to stay because of facility constraints, they must return to their vehicle.

After a support person joins a patient in their room, they must stay in the room for the duration of the visit, officials said.

Vaccine effectiveness

Gilpin said the COVID vaccine remains effective, especially in preventing the illness from progressing to more serious or fatal consequences.

He stressed that more people need to get booster shots, as only 8% of patients in the hospital have received a booster shot, according to officials.

Reinforcements

The United States Department of Defense medical team is going to spend an additional 30 days at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, officials announced.

The original 30-day medical mission was scheduled to end Jan. 2, but due to the ongoing surge, it has been extended.

“They’ve done phenomenal work alongside our amazing staff at Dearborn,” Beaumont Dearborn Chief Operating Officer Tom Lanni said. “We were able to open additional beds in critical care, and our patients and staff have truly benefited from the expertise the DOD team has brought to our hospital. We feel fortunate to be able to work with DOD team members for an additional month.”

With some staffing changes, the DOD team consists of six registered nurses assigned to the emergency center, eight registered nurses assigned to the ICUs, two respiratory therapists, two advanced practice providers, as well as DOD leaders.

This month, the DOD team will have more presence in the Dearborn emergency center, which has continued to experience a large volume of COVID and non-COVID patients, according to Beaumont.

How you can help

Here’s what Beaumont officials said people in the community can do to help:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Get boosted.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Limit gatherings.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
  • Talk to friends and family and encourage them to take action/get vaccinated/pay attention.

About the Author:

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.