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Spectum Health asks community for help warning it is nearing capacity with COVID-19 patients

Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health

The spike in COVID-19 cases is reaching a tipping point for area hospitals. Spectrum Health officials Wednesday announced it’s a matter of days when hospital systems across the state reach capacity.

They’re warning the trajectory of community spread must change or the situation will turn dire.

“We are facing some of the most daunting and demanding challenges since this pandemic began.”

Tina Freese Decker is President & CEO of Spectrum Health. The test positivity rate has skyrocketed from a comfort level of less than three percent a couple of months ago to 14% today. The number of COVID-19 patient hospitalizations representing all age groups has tripled over the past 20 days and the system is near capacity.

“We are starting to see more deaths in the last three weeks. The mortality rate for those hospitalized with COVID-19 in West Michigan is about one in every 10 people and so that’s very concerning.”

Meeting the challenge, Spectrum is expanding its Intensive Care Unit capacity and utilizing all locations for COVID patient care. That means deferring in-patient surgeries requiring overnight stay, transitioning outpatient care to curbside and virtual care. All hospitals are asking for the community’s help.

“This is very serious.”

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi is President of Spectrum Health West.

“We are to a point where, if we don’t have the public helping us, you’re going to see a lot more patients in the hospital, a lot more patients die, and it will not be a pleasant sight.”

Dr. Elmouchi says everyone can help flatten the curve over the next few weeks by wearing masks, social distancing and limiting social gatherings. That now includes only spending time with immediate family during the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’m Patrick Center

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.