More than 3K are hospitalized for COVID-19, leaders issue dire warning

    Susan J. Demas

    As cases have soared in recent weeks, there are now 3,072 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Michigan and hospital executives are sounding the alarm.

    Michigan has 229,285 COVID-19 cases and 7,766 have died from the virus — an additional 6,008 cases and 46 deaths since Tuesday. This is part of a nationwide trend, as the United States hit a record 144,000 new cases Wednesday, pushing the total well above 10 million cases.

    Michigan Health and Hospital Association CEO Brian Peters described Michigan as being in the midst of a “public health crisis.”

    “If this continues in the coming weeks, we will surpass our all-time record high in terms of COVID in-patient hospitalization numbers here in the state of Michigan,” he said on a conference call Thursday.

    COVID-19 hospital data, Nov. 11, 2020 | DHHS chart

    Last month, chief medical officers and chief clinical officers at 110 of Michigan’s 137 hospitals said they won’t be lifting COVID-19 safety protocols at their facilities anytime soon and encouraged mask-wearing and social distancing to stop the spread.

    “If Michigan doesn’t change its approach to this disease, we could have crowded hospital emergency departments and approach exceeding the capacity of our hospitals as we did in Southeast Michigan this past spring,” they said in the joint statement.

    Hospitals across the state are now seeing a surge. Spectrum Health, which owns hospitals in West Michigan, expects to hit capacity within a few days and is restricting other surgeries.

    A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report last month showed that Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids had the highest estimated three-day average of inpatient bed utilization in the country.

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.