Region 6 Healthcare Coalition warns the system is overwhelmed
Since the 9/11 attacks, Michigan’s healthcare system has been divided into regions for resource distribution in times of crisis.
Healthcare leaders from hospitals and EMS systems are asking residents of Region 6 communities in Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa Counties for their help. Hospitals are at or near capacity.
“Our major hospitals, like the ones that take care of the sickest of the sick, their I.C.U.’s are overfull.”
Dr. Jerry Evans is Medical Director for the Region 6 Healthcare Coalition. He says those hospitals are scrambling to add more beds and expand I.C.U.s. It’s a domino effect impacting smaller hospitals unable to transfer its sickest patients to larger systems. Emergency room wait times are three to five hours or worse.
“Our emergency departments are holding patients for sometimes days waiting for a bed upstairs.”
And there are delayed ambulance transfers and deferred surgeries.
The reasons; an aging population, nursing shortages, people who are now getting sick after staying away from the healthcare system during the pandemic. But it’s the current surge in COVID-19 infections among predominantly unvaccinated individuals that has the region’s healthcare system at a tipping point.
Healthcare leaders are appealing to the public to get a COVID-19 vaccination if you can. That includes children ages 5-18 and a booster for eligible adults. Handwashing, masking and social distancing are advised. With an Influenza A outbreak on the eastside of the state, Dr. Evans is advising a flu shot, too.