'A public health crisis:' 3,200 Covid patients fill Michigan hospital beds

November 12, 2020, 4:25 PM by  Alan Stamm

(Posed photo: DepositPhotos)

Post-election news isn't the only big story these days. The national pandemic resurgence has 3,209 people in Michigan hospitals.

That total includes 3,186 adults with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid and 23 pediatric patients, as of Wednesday. (Positive diagnoses came back for 2,798 of the adults and 17 youngsters.)

Hospitalizations for Covid have risen in Michigan for 41 days in a row and are at two-thirds of last spring's peak.

The latest totals include 628 adults in intensive care, with 253 of them on ventilators to pump oxygen. (Data is from a state "Covid-19 metrics" display.)

Hospitalizations from Covid are doubling every two weeks in Michigan and case numbers rise by about 40 percent each week, leaders from five health systems announced Thursday in a virtual news conference watched by the Detroit Free Press.

"We are squarely in the midst of a public health crisis," said Brian Peters, head of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

"Our hospitals are rapidly filling with Covid patients at a very alarming rate," Peters said. "If this continues in the coming weeks, we will surpass our all time record high in terms of Covid inpatient hospitalization numbers here in the state of Michigan." ...

Henry Ford Health System CEO Wright Lassiter III said its hospitals are seeing a 128% rise in COVID-19 admissions.

"We have significant burden in our emergency departments," Lassiter said. "It's very, very clear that we're seeing something different. We are seeing significant escalation of Covid-19 across Michigan.

"While there's no silver bullet for COVID-19, we clearly know that some things work, such as mask wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene."

(Graphic: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

Nationally, more than 64,000 people were hospitalized with Covid as of Wednesday — near the peak of spring's first wave. "This fall surge comes at a moment when President Trump is fighting to remain in office while paying little attention to the deadly spread of the coronavirus," a Washington Post article says.

In Michigan, nearly 7,000 new cases are confirmed Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services, which lists 45 more deaths. 

Michigan’s daily cases lately surpass last spring's average rate, reflecting a national trend.

Advice at the governor's briefing Thursday afternoon. (Photo: State of Michigan video)

"This is the worst week of Covid we've ever had," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday afternoon at a video briefing. "At this juncture, we are facing incredibly dire circumstances. ... It may be necessary for us to take some quick action."

Earlier this week, the governor said her extended family is "not going to do [Thanksgiving] this year. It's just too dangerous."

Demographic breakdowns show that 25% of Covid diagnoses in Michigan and 88% of fatalities affect people over age 60.

In a virtual press conference Thursday morning, the president of Spectrum Health says his network of a dozen West Michigan hospitals is near-capacity as Covid admissions tripled in the last 20 days.

"We’ve converted other floors to Covid units, converted rooms that weren't ICU rooms to ICU rooms," said Dr. David Elmochi.

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