Military to help Michigan cope with COVID-19 patient spike
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The federal government will send 44 military medical personnel to Michigan to help beleaguered hospitals treat COVID-19 patients amid a fourth wave that is the worst in the country, state health officials said Wednesday.
It will also open beds at Detroit’s Veterans Affairs hospital for transfers.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sought help at the request of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
The two teams of 22 doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists will arrive next week and care for patients for 30 days at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, the state health department said.
More than 4,100 people were hospitalized on Wednesday with confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus. The 3,900 adults hospitalized with confirmed infections was 87% more than a month ago and about 94% off the state’s record set in April.
“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,” the governor said in a statement. “We can all do our part to ease the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to receive a booster dose, and continuing to take precautions to protect ourselves and loved ones.”
Brian Peters, CEO of the statewide hospital group, said the situation is “barely” and the Defense Department’s support “is desperately needed.”
“Many hospitals across the state are running at full capacity, delaying non-emergency medical procedures and putting their emergency services on hold,” he said. “Hosting these teams of federal health care providers can only help those hospitals.”
Michigan, where more than 25,000 people have died with confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, again had the nation’s highest seven-day infection rate on Wednesday. It reported 17,000 new cases over two days and 280 additional deaths. The seven-day daily average, 8,165 as of Tuesday, was nearly the highest point of the 20-month pandemic, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 58% of residents aged 5 and over are fully vaccinated, below the national rate of nearly 63%. About 27% of fully vaccinated ages 18 and older have been boosted, over 20% nationwide.
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