(WXYZ) — As of Monday, Michigan has more active cases of COVID-19 than at any other point during the pandemic.
This comes roughly one week after the state also reached a record in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Now, help has arrived at Beaumont Health Dearborn, where roughly 30 health care workers from the U.S. Department of Defense are on site, including Army Maj. Jose Torrijos, an internal medicine doctor from Texas.
“This is a very large hospital and has a large number of beds," Torrijos said. "They can see up to 100 admissions a day from my understanding."
WXYZ's national affiliate Newsy got an exclusive look as he and his team joined the fight against a fourth surge of COVID-19, which has now led to more active COVID-19 cases statewide than at any other time during the pandemic.
“That’s really alarming," said Dr. Justin Skrzynski, an internal medicine physician in the COVID-19 wing at Beaumont Health Royal Oak. "In terms of how steep this trajectory is, how steep we’re seeing cases grow, it’s very high. It’s already higher than the previous surges that we’ve had except for the first one and it’s still continuing to grow.”
Skryzinski says one of the more concerning things about this surge is the high positivity rate, now nearly 20%.
“This is the highest that we’ve seen it since the initial surge that we had back in the spring of 2020," Skrzynski said. "So that's a really bad indicator that we have a lot of transmission right now and has the potential to keep growing.”
Henry Ford hospital also reports a positivity rate of nearly 20%, much higher than the 1% to 2% they had at one point over the summer.
“We are getting very close to the numbers we had a year ago, despite the fact that we have vaccines that are available,” Henry Ford Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Adnan Munkarah.
The COVID-19 caseload is stretching the hospital thin. They already closed 45 beds due to staffing shortages, which is a small percentage of overall beds. However, COO Bob Riney says soon, elective procedures may be impacted.
“If we get to 100 more (COVID-19 patients) inside our system, we would have to curtail elective procedures,” Riney said.
As both hospitals fight this surge, they continue to point out that over 70% of their patients are unvaccinated, and in the ICU that number is over 80%. They’re holding out hope that vaccination rates start to rise, and the surge begins to slow.
“We’re waiting for the storm right now," Skrzynski said. "It’s unclear how bad this is going to get and already in terms of the more severely ill patients, we’re already looking at potential shortages of equipment (BiPap and high flow oxygen). So not necessarily ventilators, but the patients that get to that point.”