Metro Detroit hospitals expecting a surge of COVID-19 patients as they near capacity

Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 05:33:14-04

(WXYZ) — Scrambling to keep up with the pace of COVID-19 patients flooding in, officials with metro Detroit health systems say we are on the front end of a surge.

Related: Henry Ford Health reaches capacity at 2 hospitals treating COVID-19 patients

Right now, those officials say it's a shell game – moving patients around to different hospitals to free up space as at least two in metro Detroit are already at capacity with another surge expected.

Today our capacity is quite full in those two hospitals especially the West Bloomfield and the Henry Ford hospital in Detroit," Dr. Betty Chu with Henry Ford Health System said. "We’ve had surgical cases moved from the Henry Ford Hospital campus to one of our other campuses. We fortunately have the luxury of having some additional capacity right now in some of our campuses."

Related: Beaumont 'facing limitations and nearing capacity with our staffing' amid coronavirus outbreak

Henry Ford has nearly 600 COVID-19 patients across the system with 282 patients being treated among its five hospitals.

Henry Ford Macomb Hospital has converted 8 operating rooms into a 16-bed COVID Unit," Chu said. "And then Henry Ford Wyandotte hospital is converting its surgical units to a dedicated COVID19 Unit doubling its intensive care beds to 32"

Beaumont has also seen a surge with rougly the same, nearly 600 COVID-19 patients and about 100 more each day, making the most of what its system has available.

Last night we converted two units at Royal Oak to COVID units and that hospital now has 9 dedicated to COVID 19 patients," Beaumont CEO John Fox said on Wednesday. "We’re converting our ORs to ICUs."

Both hosptials are in dire need of personal protection equipment and are closely monitoring their ventilator reserves.

Beaumont is urging Gov. Whitmer to invoke the "Medical Coordination Center Powers" to spread patients across the state's healthcare systems.

"We can’t have people drive by a hospital that may have 10 percent capacity more for ventilators and other things patients need, and then pull up into an ER of a hospital that’s super saturated," Fox added.

Henry Ford officials say with a lack of testing, it's still too hard to predict how many patients they'll have during the next surge, but they expect to face challenges into April

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