(WXYZ) — State health leaders, including the heads of Henry Ford, Beaumont, and Spectrum Health Systems, joined Thursday to sound the alarm on the surge of COVID-19 cases in Michigan.
Health care leaders urged residents to take caution, limit gatherings and continue social distancing measure as cases and death continue to spike in the recent weeks.
Gerry Anderson, executive chairman of DTE Energy, who hosted the call Thursday morning warned, “It’s safe to say a slowdown is nowhere in sight.”
This comes as Michigan sees record-breaking new case numbers and a surge in hospitalizations from the virus.
Statewide in just the past 26 days, there’s been a 215 percent spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, 146 percent increase in patients on ventilators, and a 137 percent increase in patients in the ICU.
With hospitalizations way up, hospitals like Henry Ford and Beaumont are also limiting visitation in an effort to stop further spread.
CEOs of six Michigan health systems, including Henry Ford, were involved in the announcement. And this comes as hospitals in West Michigan are nearing capacity due to the novel coronavirus.
Brian Peters, the chief executive officer for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, said people need to understand the severity of this virus.
With just weeks before the start of holiday celebrations, Michigan health leaders are pleading with the public, as the CDC recommends Thanksgiving only with immediate family members.
“Given what we’re seeing here in West Michigan, we are very fearful that if big groups start getting together the spread will go on even further,” said Dr. David Elmochi, President of Spectrum Health.
The head of Spectrum Health, which includes 12 hospitals, says the system is nearing capacity in the traditional sense, as the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has tripled in the last 20 days.
“We at present still have room, however that room is relatively limited,” said Dr. Elmochi. “We’ve converted other floors to COVID units, converted rooms that weren’t ICU rooms to ICU rooms. And what we’ve learned from hospitals in Detroit and New York early in the pandemic, that you can absolutely expand capacity if you truly need this.”
Here in metro Detroit, hospitalizations are also surging. In the past three weeks, there has been 193 percent spike in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — with an 83 percent increase in patients on ventilators.
Statewide, numbers are also climbing in the wrong direction, surpassing records set back in the spring.
Thursday’s announcement, hosted by the executive chairman of DTE Energy Gerry Anderson, included updates from the heads of these major health systems, all battling the strain of this second wave:
- Beaumont CEO John Fox
- Henry Ford Health System CEO Wright Lassiter III
- Munson Healthcare President and CEO Ed Ness
- Spectrum Health CEO and President Tina Freese Decker
- Michigan Health & Hospital Association CEO Brian Peters
- Gar Atchison, CEO and Market President at UP Health System
Back in the spring, TCF Center was converted to address hospital capacity. TCF even relied on FEMA to help staff the site.