Mid-Michigan hospitals managing higher patient counts amid COVID-19 surge

Four hospitals are at or above 90% patient capacity
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - A surge in positive coronavirus cases across Michigan has led to more hospitalizations, putting a strain on capacity for some health care facilities.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reporting four Mid-Michigan hospitals are at or above 90% bed occupancy:

  • Ascension St. Mary’s in Saginaw.
  • Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw.
  • Hurley Medical Center in Flint.
  • McLaren Flint Hospital.

Doctors say while the state is in a better place than a year ago, but the rise in hospitalizations is concerning. McLaren Flint Hospital is not currently restricting admissions for any patients due to capacity limitations.

”We still have plenty of capacity. We’re nowhere near at the volume that we were in November and December,” said Dr. Norm Chapin, the chief medical officer for McLaren Bay Region and McLaren Thumb Region hospitals.

But other hospitals are once again being put to the test due to an increase in hospitalizations following a surge in positive cases of COVID-19 across the state.

“At this very moment, there are two of our hospitals that we normally transfer to, are at full capacity and cannot take our patients anymore,” said Dr. Mark Hamed, the medical director at McKenzie Hospital and for the Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac and Tuscola counties health departments, as well as District Health Department #2.

Hamed said rising cases in the Thumb region is another cause for concern.

“That the Thumb hospitals are worried that our transferring hospitals will not have the beds available for their COVID and non-COVID patients who might need a higher level of care such as ICU,” he said.

Chapin said McLaren facilities are working with smaller hospitals in the Thumb region to make sure all patients receive the treatment they need.

“Anytime we see a rise in COVID cases it is a cause for concern,” he said. “I think on the positive side, we have fewer supply shortages than we had during wave one or wave two. We have the vaccine out in the community, protecting people.”

McLaren has a network established to help even out the patient load at its hospitals and other facilities around Mid-Michigan. Covenant HealthCare had the most COVID-19 patients of any hospital in Michigan during the last surge in November and December.

“So it’s changed our transfer dynamic or our potential transfer dynamics,” Chapin said. “So far we’ve been able to accommodate all of the patients who have presented here with COVID. We have not had to transfer any off because of capacity issues.”

He reminded everyone not to delay treatment if they need to go an emergency room for a reason other than COVID-19.

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