Officials working with Army Corps of Engineers to get extra hospital beds in Detroit during COVID-19 outbreak

Hospitals near capacity

Hospital bed.
Hospital bed. (News 6)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said officials are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to get extra hospital beds set up in Detroit amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

While hospitals are currently able to treat patients as they normally would, there are concerns about hospitals hitting their capacities. Tuesday, officials with Beaumont said it is nearing ventilator capacity at its eight hospitals.

MORE: Officials say Beaumont hospitals are nearing ventilator capacity

The hospitals are also nearing staffing and personal protective equipment capacity.

Officials said Monday that no COVID-19 patient in Michigan who has needed a ventilator has been removed from the ventilator -- they have either died or are still on it. Meanwhile, more people continue to need ventilators as the number of them available continues to decrease since others are still using them.

Beaumont said Tuesday afternoon that it was caring for more than 450 coronavirus patients at its hospitals, while the Henry Ford Health System said Wednesday morning that there were more than 280 patients with the virus hospitalized at its five Michigan locations.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 2,295 state-reported cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, and 43 people have died.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 54,400 confirmed United States cases, including cases from Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more than 730 people have died.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

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