Beaumont Health is sending an urgent warning to its communities that hospitals and staff have hit critical capacity levels and health care workers are pleading for Michiganders to personally take immediate steps to help stop the spread of the virus.
“Our COVID-19 numbers are climbing higher and faster and it’s very troubling and alarming to see this,” said Beaumont Health CEO John Fox. “We are grateful for the knowledge attained from the first two surges. It has helped save many lives. We also now have effective vaccines. To flatten the curve again, we all need to work together now: wear masks, wash hands, avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and get vaccinated. We cannot do this alone. We need everyone’s help immediately.”
The number of COVID-19 patients has jumped at Beaumont from 128 on Feb. 28 to more than 800 patients today and exceeds the volume from last fall. Just two weeks ago, the health system was caring for about 500 COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals in the Metro Detroit region are at or nearing capacity, with many COVID-19 units ranging from around 75% to 100% full, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“The new COVID-19 variants are more contagious. The patients we are seeing are younger and some are sicker and in need of intense medical attention,” Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont’s medical director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, said. “Some younger patients also seem to be waiting longer to get care, thinking they can beat the virus. By the time they come to the hospital, we’re seeing intense illness with pneumonia, blood clots and severe lung injury. This trend does not seem to be slowing down.”
This third surge is also putting a strain on the health system’s medical staff. Health care teams have been battling the virus for more than a year.
“If you see a health care worker – a family member, neighbor or friend – please share a kind word and thank them,” Fox said. “They are doing a heroic job compassionately caring for patients. They are truly extraordinary.”
The current surge resulted in various actions including Beaumont Health reinstituting visitor restrictions, but also allowing non-COVID-19 patients one fully vaccinated visitor per day. The guidelines are listed on the Beaumont website. Masks are still required at all Beaumont facilities for everyone, including those who have been fully vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, Beaumont has provided more than 262,000 vaccinations to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The health system continues to operate vaccine clinics at Beaumont hospitals in Dearborn and Troy, as well as the Beaumont Service Center in Southfield. The clinics have the capability of administering up to 50,000 doses per week, dependent upon the amount of vaccine received and staff given the stress of this third surge.
All of Beaumont’s hospitals are safe and remain open to all patients needing health care including emergency visits, testing and surgery. Patients should continue to go to any Beaumont Emergency Center for medical issues that need urgent attention.