Feds send staff to Michigan hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients
“No other state or territory has reported higher hospital bed use than Michigan in the past seven days,” reads part of a report released this week by the state health service.
The federal plan includes sending two 22-strong US Department of Defense military teams to hospitals in Dearborn and Grand Rapids. The teams consist of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists. They will arrive Monday for a 30-day stay in the state.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also opened beds at its Detroit hospital for local COVID-19 patients, and granted a request for help from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Michigan will also receive an additional 800 monoclonal antibody therapies, a successful method of treating people already infected with the coronavirus.
“I am grateful that the federal government has honored our request to provide much-needed assistance to health care personnel who have remained on the front lines of this pandemic,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.
“Right now, our doctors and nurses report that the vast majority of their patients have not been vaccinated or have not yet received a booster dose. We can all do our part to ease the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment for a booster dose, and continuing to take precautions to protect ourselves and loved ones.”
The federal medical teams are going to Beaumont Health in Dearborn and to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. Dearborn Hospital reported a 94% bed occupancy rate, while Butterworth reported a 92% rate.
Leaders from both institutions thanked the state and federal governments for their assistance during this crisis.
“The virus has exhausted our teams and created unprecedented workforce challenges at Beaumont Health and health systems across the state,” said John Fox, CEO of Beaumont Health.
“This pandemic is far from over. We are asking everyone to please get vaccinated. And if you qualify, you will get a booster vaccination.”
Hospital leaders called for this help earlier this week.
“Across the state, resilient and dedicated hospital health workers are standing by to meet emergency medical care needs, but the reality is that most hospitals across the state have more patients in their emergency rooms than available rooms and staff to care for them.” concerns,” read part of a statement from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
“This results in long wait times, patients being placed in hallways or conference rooms, and patients being turned away from a hospital because there is no physical space or medical staff available to take more patients.”
Whitmer and her administration have repeatedly urged Michiganders to get vaccinated, wear masks and follow other mitigation measures. But they’ve shunned mandates for months, despite advocating for their effectiveness before.
Now Whitmer and the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Elizabeth Hertel, say most Michiganders have the option to receive a vaccine and vaccine booster, if eligible, and to wear masks. It’s up to them to do that.
“Hospitals have capacity across the state, particularly in Metro Detroit and West Michigan, and this is taking a huge toll on our health workers,” Hertel said in a statement.
“We are working hard to support them, but they also need every Michigander to do their part by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, maintaining social distancing and staying home.” and get tested if they have symptoms.”
Boosters are crucial for people who are more than six months away from their last vaccine dose, according to state and federal health experts. The need for boosters is demonstrated in the relatively small but increasing number of breakthrough cases in Michigan. Show state data between October 14 and November 12, 28% of cases, 29% of hospitalizations and 25% of deaths were among people who had been fully vaccinated.
About 55% of eligible Michigan residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state’s health department. Although Michiganders ages 5 to 11 recently became eligible for the vaccine, less than 13% have received their first dose.
Michigan reported nearly 1,000 ongoing outbreaks this week, including 140 new outbreaks related to schools.
Contact Dave Boucher at [email protected] or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.