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'We are very worried.' Metro Detroit hospital leaders plead for help as beds fill up

Posted at 4:37 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 16:38:20-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — On a video call Thursday afternoon, leaders within the Henry Ford Health System put out an urgent plea to the public, asking for help in slowing the spread of COVID 19.

“We are very worried about the accelerating rate of new cases that we have seen in the State and the number of people being hospitalized with COVID,” said Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Adnan Munkarah.

Right now the health system is housing roughly 500 COVID patients, with 92% of their beds now occupied.

“The last time we have seen numbers like that was 12 months ago in April of 2020,” Dr. Munkarah said.

Their Macomb campus is the most crowded, and now the health system is limiting the number of elective procedures there for 2 days and will re-evaluate over the weekend.

“We are doing everything we can, but with full hospitals and with full ERs and surging COVID cases this is extremely difficult,” said President of Healthcare Operations Bob Riney. "None of us expected what we are seeing today.”

University of Michigan hospitals are doing the same, moving a small number of elective procedures. A tweet from the Chair of the university’s surgery department tagged the Governor, State Health Department, and the CDC, saying “we need some help.”

“Some have asked, including the CDC, for our leaders in the government here to consider whether at least a halt on some in-person sports activities in the K-12 level might be in order,” said Dr. Laraine Washer, Clinical Associate Professor with Michigan Medicine.

Many cases are coming from young people, and doctors at Henry Ford believe the surge is being fueled by a combination of outbreaks in schools and school sports, the variants, and COVID fatigue.

“We know that people are fatigued, but people's noncompliance with the safety measures that have protected us for months now are giving this virus new life,” Riney said.