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POST 153. April 18, 2021. CORONAVIRUS. “At least 35 hospitals across Michigan were listed Thursday as nearing capacity and three were at full capacity for COVID-19 patients..”.. We can manufacture beds. We can open up beds. We can create entire wings of the hospital if we have to, but if we don’t have staff for those beds, we’ve got nothing.”..
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Beaumont Health is warning its hospitals and staff have hit critical capacity levels higher than the state’s fall surge.
The hospital chain’s CEO said Michigan’s climbing rate of infections is “very troubling and alarming” and warned that Beaumont “cannot do this alone.”
“We need everyone’s help immediately,” said John Fox. A statement from the hospital sent Thursday morning said the number of patients that Beaumont was caring for had jumped from 128 to more than 800 patients since the end of February. Just two weeks ago, the hospital was caring for 500 patients infected with COVID-19.
The rate of hospitalizations in Michigan has followed one has been a breathtakingly fast rate of new infections that have placed Michigan at the top of the country for coronavirus outbreaks.
Hospital data from the health department reports that more than 4,100 people have been hospitalized due to a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection. The number of people in emergency rooms with coronavirus symptoms is also higher than it was in December.
And it’s not just Beaumont that’s reporting its facilities are near or at capacity. Several area hospitals are at or are close to 100% capacity. So far, about 77% of all beds in the state dedicated to coronavirus patients are filled….
“The new COVID-19 variants are more contagious. The patients we are seeing are younger and some are sicker and in need of intense medical attention,” Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont’s medical director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, said…
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has opted not to implement new restrictions. Instead, she’s asking residents to continue taking precautions and get vaccinated as soon as they can. “ (A)
“It has left Beaumont in a place where it is beginning to put up modular triage units and tents outside some of its hospitals to manage the stress on its emergency rooms. Curbside triage units already are in use at its Grosse Pointe and Troy hospitals. A tent is up outside the Dearborn hospital, said Mark Geary, a spokesperson for the health system.
The health system also is postponing some non-urgent surgeries and procedures that would require at least an overnight stay, such as knee replacements or knee reconstruction surgeries, on a case-by-case basis, Gilpin said. Cancer surgeries and other urgent medical services, he noted, are continuing.
“If we continue to see COVID numbers rise, we’ll have to make some accommodations, open up some additional beds,” he said. “The challenge here … is where are we going to get the staff from? We can manufacture beds. We can open up beds. We can create entire wings of the hospital if we have to, but if we don’t have staff for those beds, we’ve got nothing.”..
Michiganders, Riney and Gilpin agreed, must step up now to get vaccinated. To wear masks. To stay home when they’re sick and get tested. To avoid gatherings and practice social distancing.
But it also may be time, Gilpin said, to consider more restrictive measures.
“I do agree with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that it is going to be difficult to vaccinate our way out of this,” he said.
With a little more than 25% of the state’s adult population fully vaccinated, “that’s a far cry from where we need to be to get those herd immunity numbers that will really bring this under control,” Gilpin said.
It will take about five to six weeks for people who get Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines now to be fully protected. And injections of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which offers protection within two weeks of vaccination, are temporarily paused while federal regulators conduct a safety review.
“Six weeks is a long time, and especially when you’re in the middle of a surging pandemic,” Gilpin said. “That is, frankly, too long to wait for some of us that are working in these hospitals.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has urged Michiganders to voluntarily avoid indoor dining, and suggested that schools should take a two-week pause from face-to-face high school classes after spring break. She also asked youth athletic teams to pause for two weeks.” (B)
“Add the medical director of infection prevention at Beaumont Health to the list of experts who believe Michigan needs to mandate more COVID-19 restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
Dr. Nick Gilpin said Thursday (April 14) that he agrees with the director of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, who believes Michigan needs to shut down to combat the alarming spread of COVID-19…
Gilpin and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky both said it would be difficult for Michigan to turn its metrics around simply relying on vaccinations…
He said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has said multiple times in the last week that she doesn’t plan to mandate more restrictions, is in a very difficult position of balancing the virus with the “radioactive political environment.”
But with the statewide case and positivity rates five times higher than they were in mid-February, he thinks the right move is to issue more restrictions.
“At a time like this, right now, in Southeast Michigan and Michigan at large, I do think that we have to be a little bit more prescriptive right now,” Gilpin said.” (C)
“Chief nursing officer Susan Grant said Thursday (April 15) that Beaumont hospitals are currently at 90-95% capacity.
Dr. Nick Gilpin, the medical director of infection prevention, said the COVID-19 situation is “just like a runaway train right now.”
But Grant and Gilpin aren’t worried about space or supplies. Their main concern is for hospital workers.
If we continue to see COVID numbers rise, we’ll have to make some accommodations, open up some additional beds, but again, the challenge here and the theme of the day is: Where are we going to get that staff from?” Gilpin said.
Grant said after having done this for over a year now, hospital workers are tired and worn out both physically and mentally.
“At this time last year, none of us would have imagined, going through that extraordinarily difficult time, that we would be here again, same time this year,” Grant said. “That we would be working and seeing so many patients who are infected with the coronavirus. Hundreds and hundreds of them coming through our emergency rooms.
“That emotional exhaustion has come from experiencing and being present for, observing the enormous toll that this virus has taken on patients, on families, on their own personal lives. They have seen a lot of death over the last year, and now, they are experiencing and seeing younger people who are in our ICU beds, who are very, very sick, who are in the emergency rooms and our hospital beds who are very sick, and some who are dying.”
Grant said it’s been particularly hard for her nurses to see so many younger people coming into hospitals with COVID-19.
“It literally is an all hands on deck, and people are willing to step up and do what they need to do, but we need help,” Grant said.
Beaumont has reached out to external agencies to bring in supplemental staff to help with vaccine clinics and to deal with the surge of cases. Beaumont is also in contact with other health systems in terms of possible transfers when hospitals fill up.
Grant was asked if she’s worried about nurses leaving the profession because of the demands being put on them by the pandemic. She said some nurses who might have been considering retirement in the upcoming years have even retired early because of the strains of caring for COVID-19 patients.
“We worry about (losing nurses) every day, and we are seeing it already, unfortunately,” she answered. “It’s very concerning.”” (D)
“At least 35 hospitals across Michigan were listed Thursday as nearing capacity and three were at full capacity for COVID-19 patients as Michigan’s largest hospital system said it’s nearing its capacity, a development Beaumont Health CEO John Fox called “troubling and alarming.”..
Overall, hospitals in Metro Detroit are at or nearing capacity, with COVID-19 units at 75% to 100% capacity, according to state data.
Health care officials attribute Michigan’s case surge to a combination of COVID variants, including B.1.1.7, a United Kingdom variant for which Michigan has the second-highest number of cases in the nation; a lack of herd immunity; hesitancy to get the vaccine; and Michigan’s cool weather driving more people indoors.
“This variant seems to me like a whole new pandemic because it is more virulent, it is highly contagious and it causes serious illness,” said Dr. Teena Chopra, a professor of Infectious diseases at Detroit’s Wayne State University Medical School…
Hospitals across Michigan are worried about soaring admissions, said John Karasinski, spokesman for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.
“Concerns about rising hospital admissions and nearing capacity is felt across the state,” Karasinski said. “As with the other surges, the key concern with capacity is staffing levels.”
A significant number of staff are out ill with COVID-19 or on vacation due to spring break, he said. A good share of health care workers have been diverted to provide vaccinations, he added.
“Our hospitals have been staffing vaccination clinics for the past several months, but that does require staff to be allocated toward those clinics,” Karasinski said.
Chopra said more than 60% of cases in Michigan are caused by the more infectious U.K. variant. Michigan had 3,023 cases of the U.K. variant through Thursday….
Michigan hit a new record of 4,011 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, surpassing the spring and fall 2020 surge peaks. By Thursday, the number had dipped slightly to 3,960 adults hospitalized — still about a 300% jump from one month ago. Of those hospitalized Thursday, 833 patients are in incentive care and 497 are on ventilators.
Michigan has an 18% infection rate. The percentage of COVID-19 tests returning positive are nearly 21% in Detroit, where 419 people are hospitalized.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan warned residents Wednesday, saying if the city continues on a track of 700 new cases per day, the racial health care gap in the region will widen should the city’s hospitals be overwhelmed with suburban residents.
“Our lower vaccine rate is leaving our neighbors vulnerable in a terrible way,” Duggan said about the city during a Wednesday news conference. “The worst is still ahead of us. There is no doubt that that wave is going to continue to spread down into our city and we have got to protect ourselves.”
Dr. Adnan Munkarah, chief clinical officer of Henry Ford Health System, said at a Wednesday press conference with Whitmer that COVID-19 patients have grown from 75 to 550 during the past five weeks.
“Positivity rates from inpatients were 1 in 25 and are now 1 in 5. This is extremely troubling,” Munkarah said.” (E)
“With Michigan’s case rate of 515.8 per 100,000 people over the last week — the worst in the nation and four times higher than the rate in neighboring Ohio, according to data from the CDC — more people in general are going to get sick.
That includes kids, said Dr. Prashant Mahajan, an emergency medicine physician and division chief of children’s emergency medicine at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
“There is definitely an increase in the total number of patients that are coming to the ER, both on the pediatric side and the adult side,” Mahajan said. “And the reason I bring both pediatric and adult is because we see children up to 21 years of age at Mott Children’s.
“Cases among kids ages 10-19 are at an all-time high, the state’s top epidemiologist, Sarah Lyon-Callo, reported last week, quadrupling from four weeks earlier.
Dr. Matthew Sims, director of infectious disease research at Beaumont Health, said Michigan’s kids might be contracting the virus at a higher rate now than they did in previous surges because they’re able to socialize, attend in-person classes and continue to play sports now — spreading the virus during these activities — in a way that wasn’t possible during previous waves.
When the first huge spike in coronavirus infections slammed the state in March and April of 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order pushing all K-12 schools to virtual learning. Sports were stopped, restaurants closed and the opportunity for the virus to spread shrank.
In November, when the state was hit yet again with high coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations, the state health department issued a public health order mandating a temporary pause for in-person high school and college classes. High school sports were suspended and in-person dining was stopped, too.
That’s not the case this time. Although Whitmer has encouraged people to avoid in-person dining, urged schools to take a two-week pause from in-person classes following spring break, and asked youth sports teams to also suspend playing, there is no requirement shutting them down.
“In the last couple of surges, sports were closed,” Sims said. “And while they may not be getting it directly from the sporting event, there’s a lot of things that go along with sports. A lot of people go in to watch. There’s the celebration after, where people are gathering together. There have been a bunch of outbreaks linked to sporting events, and so I think that’s part of it.
“Schools have said they’re not all built to keep 6 feet of distance, or sometimes 3 feet of distance, between kids. All of these things play into it. Also, a large number of kids are asymptomatic and we’re not doing enough testing. Often, it spreads without us knowing it.”
The more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom, is another factor, Valentini said.
“We know from a statewide statistics that the state of Michigan definitely has one of the highest variant rates of the U.K. variant, the B.1.1.7 variant,” Valentini said, which is 50% to 100% more transmissible than other strains of the virus. “That seems to be higher in our state, and so it could very well be that it is contributing to some of the change.”
The way the state and nation have targeted vaccines to older populations also could play a role in more kids getting sick with the virus now, Valentini said.
Nearly 60% of adults 65 and older in Michigan have been fully vaccinated, according to state data, and almost 50% of people ages 50-64 have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
That leaves unvaccinated younger adults and children more vulnerable to infection. Just 10.7% of 16- to 19-year-olds have been vaccinated, state data show…
State health officials also have reported at least 99 cases of the rare pediatric condition known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome-Children, or MIS-C, which can develop several weeks after a coronavirus infection and can lead to organ failure and death in kids.
As many as five Michigan children have died of MIS-C and/or active COVID-19 infections, though state health officials won’t release an exact total number of deaths from either disease.” (F)
“Michigan cities account for 9 of the 10 worst Covid-19 outbreaks in the country’s metropolitan areas, according to the latest Covid-19 Community Profile Report published by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the White House.
The state has averaged 7,870 new Covid-19 cases a day across the last week — far above the winter’s low average of 1,044 on February 20. It’s also around Michigan’s highest-ever levels, seen back in late November and early December, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Statewide hospitalizations also are way up. More than 4,230 Covid-19 patients were in Michigan hospitals on Tuesday — far above the winter low of 825 on February 22 and close to the peak of 4,305 on November 30, according to HHS data.” (G)
“Health officials in Colorado are warning about another wave of infections as new coronavirus cases in the state jump to levels not seen since January and as counties start to loosen virus restrictions.
The state is reporting an average of 1,661 new cases a day, up by 18 percent in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations have climbed by 19 percent in the same time period. Deaths from the virus, which tend to lag behind infections for several weeks, have slightly increased.
“We are seeing what appears to be the beginning of a fourth wave of Covid-19 in Colorado,” Scott Bookman, the state’s Covid-19 incident commander, said at a news briefing on Thursday. He urged people to remain vigilant about getting tested as more of the state’s population becomes vaccinated….
Even as cases mount, the state on Friday ended its “dial system” that required counties to place capacity limits on restaurants, offices and gyms, depending on case counts, positive test percentages and hospitalizations in those areas. That change shifted control of pandemic regulations to local counties, prompting concerns from some public health experts that the move could result in cases and hospitalizations continuing to rise. Several counties experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, like El Paso and Douglas Counties, have said they do not plan to impose restrictions beyond those mandated by the state…
An analysis published this month and led by researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health found that delaying policy changes, at the state or local level, until mid-May would “prevent large numbers of deaths and hospitalizations.” According to the report, mobility in the state is also reaching its highest levels since the start of the pandemic.” (H)
- A.”We need everyone’s help immediately”; Beaumont hospital hits critical capacity, By Jessica Dupnack and Jack Nissen, https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/beaumont-hospital-critical-capacity-coronavirus-third-surge-infections-metro-detroit
- B.Beaumont sets up triage units, tents outside some hospitals to manage COVID-19 surge, by Kristen Jordan Shamus, https://www.freep.com/story/news/health/2021/04/15/beaumont-hospital-traige-tent-coronavirus-covid-michigan/7235320002/
- C.Beaumont Health official believes Michigan needs to mandate more COVID-19 restrictions, https://www.clickondetroit.com/health/good-health/2021/04/16/beaumont-health-official-believes-michigan-needs-to-mandate-more-covid-19-restrictions/
- D.Beaumont officials very worried about staff as Michigan hospitals fill up with COVID patients, https://www.clickondetroit.com/health/good-health/2021/04/16/beaumont-officials-very-worried-about-staff-as-michigan-hospitals-fill-up-with-covid-patients/
- E.Michigan hospitals near COVID capacity as expert warns of ‘new pandemic’, by Sarah Rahal, Beth LeBlanc and Karen Bouffard, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/04/15/beaumont-health-warns-nearing-capacity-covid-19-cases-increase/7234794002/
- F.Michigan at ‘record high’ for COVID-19 hospitalizations of children, by Kristen Jordan Shamus, https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-health-watch/michigan-record-high-covid-19-hospitalizations-children
- G.Covid-19 surge in Michigan is putting some hospitals at critical capacity levels, health care provider says, By Jason Hanna and Christina Maxouris, https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/15/health/us-coronavirus-thursday/index.html
- H.Colorado health officials warn of a new surge as counties loosen virus restrictions., By Madeleine Ngo, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/18/us/colorado-covid-restrictions.html?referringSource=articleShare