West Michigan’s Spectrum Health says hospitals near capacity amid COVID surge

Hospitalizations climb across Michigan

Generic image of a hospital bed. (Pixabay)

West Michigan’s largest hospital system says they could be hitting their maximum capacity “in a matter of days,” as new COVID-19 cases and deaths rise across the state.

Spectrum Health said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday that they are working to expand intensive care capacity and to create more space for COVID-19 patients.

The hospital is already deferring overnight surgeries and moving more programs to virtual formats.

“Even with these actions, the reality is that Spectrum Health and our hospitals across the state will be hitting their capacity in a matter of days,” Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese Decker said, according to WOOD TV.

“We are facing some of the most daunting and demanding challenges since this pandemic began,” Freese Decker said. “COVID-19 is surging across our state and we are heading in the wrong direction. We must change this trajectory of community spread. This is why we need our community’s help and support. We need to flatten this curve like we did last spring,” she added.

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, the president of Spectrum Health West, added that Spectrum will be prioritizing those with symptoms when providing COVID-19 tests.

“We will not be performing tests on people solely with exposure” to the virus, Elmouchi said, explaining the reason for the change is to ensure those with symptoms get test results back quickly.

Spectrum also said they’re in talks on the possibility of opening a field hospital, but said it would be difficult to staff.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 229,285 as of Wednesday, including 7,766 deaths, state officials report.

Wednesday’s update represents 6,008 new cases and 42 additional deaths. On Tuesday, the state reported 223,277 total cases and 7,724 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise in Michigan. Testing has increased in recent weeks, with more than 45,000 diagnostic tests reported per day, but the positive rate has increased to above 11% over the last week. Hospitalizations have increased steadily for the last five weeks, including upticks in critical care and ventilator use.

Michigan’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 5,040 on Tuesday, the highest it has ever been. The 7-day death average was 46, the highest since early June. The state’s fatality rate is 3.5%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 86,600 on Tuesday, its highest mark on record. More than 128,000 have recovered in Michigan.

Related: Virus surge engulfs the US, Texas at 1M cases, Calif. nears

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.