Spectrum Health West Michigan transforming meeting COVID-19 surge

Nov 20, 2020

Spectrum Health
Credit Spectrum Health

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services projects a doubling of new COVID-19 hospitalization in the next two-weeks. Spectrum Health addressed the projection during its weekly COVID media briefing.

Spectrum Health’s labs have routinely conducted roughly 4,000 COVID-19 tests per day. The test positivity rate on a rolling seven-day average of 18.6%. That means COVID is rapidly spreading throughout the community.

“These people who get admitted tend to be far sicker than your average pneumonia patient, for instance. So, the resources to care for them both in staff and everything else is much more."

In early October, the hospital was caring for 35 COVID-19 patients. Today, the in-patient number is 345.

“When you talk to some of our doctors and nurses they’ve never taken care of this many very sick patients at the same time.”

Dr. Daryl Elmouchi is President of Spectrum Health West Michigan. The hospital is projecting the number of COVID patients to increase dramatically by early December.

“So, somewhere between 600 and 1,200 going up from 345 where we are today. I want to remind everyone that all of these estimates are just that, estimates.”

The hope is the recent warmer weather, and people getting outdoors, may lower the number of new cases. Still, Spectrum is expanding outside of Intensive Care Unit.

“So, some of our beds that we’ve used for medical patients or surgical patients are being converted to Intensive Care patients. That’s how we’re getting some Intensive Care capacity.”

Shawn Ulreich is Chief Nurse Executive with Spectrum Health West Michigan.

“The other thing we’re doing is holding on certain types of surgeries, for now.”

Those are mostly in-patient, elective surgeries. Spectrum has cross-trained much of its staff to work in the ICU which is helpful as doctors and nurses are also contracting the disease.