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Henry Ford Health System officials say their COVID hospitalizations are declining

'This is a very encouraging sign.'
Posted at 2:14 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 17:48:23-05

(WXYZ) — Henry Ford Health System officials Wednesday said their number of COVID hospitalizations are declining, down to 499 patients from 551 on Monday.

“This is a very encouraging sign and certainly what we hope will be the beginning of a trend, but it’s obviously too early," said Bob Riney, President of Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer.

Riney underscored the importance of getting a booster, noting that the data indicated that more than 90% of those hospitalized for COVID did not receive a booster.

He said another hopeful sign is the decreased positivity rate. Wednesday morning, Riney said the positivity rate was at 33% compared to 44% trending in the first part of January.

“The omicron variant is still extremely contagious and prevalent throughout the community, so it’s important we stay incredibly vigilant,” said Riney.

He added that “we will take these trends as a sign of hope and a sign of optimism.

Riney said 77 beds are temporarily closed due to staffing issues. There are also 473 team members who are off work due to COVID, down from 593 a week ago.

“Our team members continue to do an unbelievable job,” said Riney.

Senior VP and Chief Nursing Officer Eric Wallis cited data that said nursing staffing demands increased up to 245% through the pandemic. He said nurses are leaving the profession at record rates.

Wallis said across the Henry Ford Health System, there are currently 1,000 RN vacancies.

“We’ve engaged in a number of short and long term strategies to address that issue,” said Wallis.

Wallis said they have been recruiting nurses from the Philippines, and said they could join the team as early as this summer.

They said they are encouraged by enrollment rates for nursing and are also exploring new ways to attract and retain nurses.

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