Local hospitals feel the strain of COVID as infected patient numbers continue to increase weekly

Posted at 6:44 AM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 07:11:57-05

(WXYZ) — Hospitals like Beaumont Health System are being hit hard by the COVID surge sweeping across Michigan.

In a press release, health leaders said they are at a "breaking point" after seeing a 40% increase in hospitalizations in the past week. They also say it's nearly impossible to accept hospital transfers.

"When a small community hospital says 'I need your help. I have a patient here I can't handle.' We may not have the capacity to (take them)," Clinical Services Chief at Beaumont Health System Dr. Jeff Fischgrund said.

Beaumont Health says 730 COVID patients have been admitted across their 8 hospitals and 63% of them are unvaccinated. In the ICU that number is even higher.

430 Beaumont workers are currently out with COVID and some in-patient surgeries are turning into outpatient ones. However, they're not putting off heart surgeries and cancer procedures.

But to offset the chaos, hospitals across the state are delaying elective procedures like joint replacements.

At Ascension Michigan Clinical Officer Dr. Doug Apple says they've also seen an increase in COVID patients. He says about 75% of them are unvaccinated.

"By no means do I want to minimize the stress and strain that we've had in regards to COVID," he said.

At Henry Ford Health System, doctors say 65% of their COVID patients are unvaccinated and 686 workers were out with COVID.

The University of Michigan Health System says they have more than 500 employees currently out of work because of COVID and their emergency department is overcrowded.

"Vaccination is still a winning strategy," Infectious Diseases Doctor at Beaumont Health Dr. Nick Gilpin said. "it may not prevent all disease, but vaccination is extremely effective at keeping people out of the hospital and it's even better if boosted."

Dr. Gilpin adds that breakthrough cases seem to be more common with the Omicron variant, but the vaccine is still working.