Michigan’s latest COVID surge has Metro Detroit hospitals nearing capacity

Hospitals warn of capacity concerns amid COVID surge, no new statewide restrictions planned

DETROIT – The spread of coronavirus is not slowing down in Michigan.

On Thursday, the state reported more than 7,800 new cases and 73 new deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state to 723,297 and the death toll to 16,400.

The trend has Metro Detroit hospitals filling up. Many are sounding the alarm as they approach capacity.

As of Thursday, more than 3,500 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Well beyond the 3,000 threshold Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used to justify the “Pause to Save Lives” in the fall.

There is currently a 92% occupancy rate across Michigan hospitals. Between 20-25% of COVID hospitalizations are in the ICU, but the mortality rate is better.

Henry Ford Health System’s positivity rate Thursday was 19%. It was 4% only a few weeks ago.

Health officials said the surge in cases isn’t comparable to what the state saw in the fall, but is closer to the spring of 2020.

“We are very worried about the escalating cases, by the end of the day today, we expect to have over 500 patients across our hospitals,” said Henry Ford Health Dr. Adnan Munkarah. “The last time we saw numbers like this, it was April 2020.”

“We’re afraid we may reach some critical capacities next week in our intensive care units,” said Beaumont Health Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund.

The Governor’s Office is still shying away from the restrictions the state imposed in the fall, despite the worse numbers.

Both Beaumont and Henry Ford hospitals made it clear Thursday that the vaccine and reaching herd immunity is the only way out, and if people don’t start following social distancing and masking, the system will reach a tipping point.

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.