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Mid-Michigan hospitals nearing capacity as COVID-19 surge escalates

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -

“Patients are again lining our hallways like they were last spring. This situation is very serious.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive sounding the alarm on Wednesday in Lansing over rising hospitalizations around the state.

19 Hospitals in the state are at 90% capacity or higher. Many of those hospitalizations are in Metro-Detroit, but several are here in Mid-Michigan.

Dr. Matthew Diebel, MD with the Covenant Emergency Care Center says he’s seeing just as many COVID cases now, as he did during the wave of cases the state had in the Fall. But, says things are a little different this time.

“This time we have a lot of you been vaccinated, that’s preventing a lot of the hospitalizations, we had from before, so even though we have as much spread in the community last time our hospitalization rate is only about half of what it was,” he said.

On Wednesday The State’s Health Department reported a record level of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with over 4,300.

One McLaren Flint Nurse spoke off camera saying that there is a 12 hour wait to even get into the ER because there are no beds available.

Not only are hospitals feeling the impact from the virus, but even ambulance services say they are seeing a 40% increase in COVID patients.

“As the hospital start to fill up, and they have to shift some of that capacity to other hospitals. Now we transport patients further out of our system from one hospital to another, which, while it helps to balance the patient load takes ambulances out of the system,” said Kolby Miller, CEO at Medstar.

Miller says they provide medical transportation throughout Michigan, including Flint and Bay County areas. He says even though vaccinations have helped his team stay strong during this time it still doesn’t help when hospitals are close to reaching full capacity.

“Now we’re going a long way away. For any hospital to receive any patient so if we run that out. That means a heart attack patient is going 45 miles away to a hospital that’s got any bed. And that doesn’t provide good care for the heart attack or the motor vehicle trauma or the fall or the elderly person who just need is just ill.”

Miller says Medstar transports about 500 patients a day and will continue to do whatever they have to do to keep going.

“We’ve got to do our part to get this under control. You know, running out of beds is one thing, running out of providers is another thing. And we’re not far from it,” said Miller.

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