(WXYZ) — Some hospitals in the Beaumont Health System have set up or are considering setting up outdoor triage centers to help with the surge in COVID-19 patients Michigan is seeing right now.
Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont Health’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology, said that at the hospital he works at in Grosse Pointe, they have already set up an outdoor curbside triage center to help intake patients and balance the load in the emergency centers.
Beaumont Health Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant said that hospitals in Dearborn and Farmington Hills were having discussions and considering doing that, but wasn't sure if the hospitals had actually set them up.
Following up later in the day, Beaumont Health officials confirm a triage location has been set up outside Beaumont Grosse Point Hospital. They also say a HAZMAT tent is being used outside Beaumont Dearborn Hospital to expand the waiting area. No other locations are affected at this time.
According to the health system, there are over 800 patients with COVID-19 throughout its eight hospitals, and it's taxing their staff and resources.
"It's just like a runaway train right now," Gilpin said at the start of a Thursday press conference.
Those patients, Gilpin said, are also skewing younger. In the fall, the average age of the patients hospitalized was in mid 60s. As of today, the average age is down to the low 50s.
Gilpin also said that the hospital is looking at elective surgeries on a case-by-case basis to possibly cancel them.
They are not canceling necessary surgical procedures, like if someone has to have a cancerous tumor removed, but elective, non-necessary procedures could be postponed.
Gilpin gave the example of a knee reconstruction or replacement that may require a couple of days in the hospital after surgery.
"If our hospital capacity is such where putting someone in the hospital for a couple of days after surgery would challenge our staff, we would rather postpone than proceed," he said.
According to Grant, the hospital staff is working extra, and they are also looking across the health system for supplemental staffing, like they did in spring 2020, to see if they can move them elsewhere to help fight the COVID-19 surge.
"It's literally all hands on deck," Grant said.
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