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Lakeshore health care providers at 'tipping point'

Mercy Health Muskegon
Jeff Veltman
Courtesy of Architectural Products
Mercy Health Muskgon Hospital

As a fourth surge of COVID-19 has hit the state of Michigan, health officials on the Lakeshore say the number of people in the hospital with coronavirus has hit a record high.

As pandemic hospitalizations in Michigan surpassed 3,000 for the first time in more than six months earlier this week, health officials in Ottawa County say an “unprecedented” 25 percent of all people occupying hospital beds right now have tested positive for COVID-19, while 35% in the ICU are suffering from the coronavirus, while the majority of all of them are unvaccinated.

“Our healthcare providers, there at a tipping point.”

Derel Glashower is the senior epidemiologist for Ottawa County.

“In Ottawa County, we still see a substantial portion of the population that is unvaccinated,” Glashower said. “And COVID-19 is finding those folks.”

Next door in Muskegon County, it’s the same story, says Public Health Officer Kathy Moore.

“Muskegon is moving in the wrong direction, the opposite direction that we had hoped for,” Moore said.

Moore says with the pandemic now in its 20th month, the frustration with those who refuse to get vaccinated, is weighing heavy on health officials.

“My staff, including myself, we are overwhelmed. We were not prepared for (new) cases in the hundreds per day.”

With the Lakeshore at roughly 70 percent of residents having been vaccinated I asked both Glashower and Moore if 90 percent would be enough to end the pandemic.

Both answered “yes.”

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