The hospitalization of mostly unvaccinated COVID patients is straining hospital care, do it much more likely the patients will die because that medically preventable reasons. (Bridge paper photo)

More 보다 85 percent of Michigan intensive care unit (ICU) beds and hospital inpatient beds are full, a dangerous and potentially fatal level the overcrowding together the state’s wellness system is strained by a fourth surge of COVID-19 cases.

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At the very least eight hospitals are 100 percent full, according to the recent state data. West Michigan’s biggest system, Spectrum Health, reached a system-record number of patients in both its hospitals and also ICUs, as statewide hospitalization levels continue to climb.

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, Spectrum’s president, stood at his computer system Friday afternoon in his cool Rapids office, next to a row of home windows looking the end on a cold, gray day. Normally, Spectrum would certainly take as much as 50 move patients each day from smaller hospitals or countryside emergency rooms, the said. Yet now, that can’t.

“We’ll obtain phone calls speak we’re the 15th hospital they’ve called, and also can us please help? And an extremely often best now, the answer is no,” he said. “Because we have to take care of those world in front of us prior to we deserve to take care of people that space coming native a distance. And also that"s yes, really heartbreaking, and it’s hard.”

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St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital are both 100 percent full, a spokesperson shown Friday.

"St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston have been managing day-to-day ICU operations one of two people at volume or above standard capacity throughout lot of November,” Dr. David Vandenberg, chief medical officer in ~ the two hospitals, claimed in a statement. “While patience safety stays our No. 1 priority, the unrelenting volume the COVID-19 patients with advanced illness makes managing their treatment very challenging on our medical teams."

Hospitals to speak they’re likewise being struggle by waves of non-COVID patients whose conditions have worsened after months of delayed care during the pandemic. Emergency room waits are obtaining longer, ambulances space overwhelmed by demand, and patients are being sent out greater distances to uncover a hospital that can take them.

“You can be at a hospital in the U.P. And also not have someone to accept you at a bigger, much more capable health and wellness system right now due to the fact that of this,” claimed Elmouchi that Spectrum. “You can gain in a vehicle accident, you have the right to have a heart attack, and you don’t acquire the treatment that girlfriend otherwise would have actually at the right time. Things have the right to be delayed or changed as a result of this. Every health system, every hospital, every doctor throughout the state is do the efforts to execute their best for everybody. However it"s hard to carry out that once you"re stretched in capacity.”

Across the state, more than 4,000 adults and also 58 children are hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID cases. And as of Wednesday, the most recent state data available, 2,651 of the state’s 3,114 ICU beds were occupied.

Overcrowding at these levels isn’t simply inconvenient. It deserve to kill people. When hospitals hit 75 percent ICU capacity, an ext patients are likely to dice for medically-preventable reasons, follow to a CDC study published last mainly in "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly."

Examining a year of hospital records finishing in July of this year, researchers predicted that when the nation’s ICU beds to be at 75 percent capacity, one estimated extr 12,000 excess deaths would occur two main later. And also “as hospitals exceed 100 percent ICU bed capacity, 80,000 overfill deaths would certainly be supposed 2 weeks later,” the writer said.

Those nationwide models are tough to drill down to a state level: neither the Michigan department of Health and Human services nor the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, an sector group, monitor deaths attached to hospital overcrowding.

“MDHHS walk not have a version for overabundance deaths, but we work with facilities to screen morgue capacity and also have mobile resources to support extr morgue capacity if needed and also requested,” spokesperson Bob Wheaton claimed Friday via email.

Asked if any type of health solution have embraced crisis standards of treatment (an emergency setting to help health care workers identify who it s okay life-saving treatment when resources are scarce), Wheaton claimed while lock “aren’t conscious of any facilities in full crisis standards the care...several have actually reported being in between contingency and also crisis.”

On Nov. 9, Munson medical care announced that was relocating to “Pandemic Level Red Status” because that the very first time in the organization’s history. That way it will prioritize “pandemic-related care...above all various other issues,” including pausing some services and assessing “non-urgent surgeries ~ above a case-by-case basis to transition staff and also resources to whereby they are required most.”

Some Michigan ER patients are being “placed in hallways or conference rooms,” if hospitals divert others far “because there is no physics room or clinical staff available to accept an ext patients,” the Michigan Health and also Hospital Association claimed in a letter native chief medical officers throughout the state earlier this week.

“...Just as hospitals and the staff working inside are and also have been functioning at capacity, our emergency clinical services (EMS) are additionally stressed and overworked. There might be times when capacity in the mechanism is not sufficient to accommodate the usual solution and rate of transport, particularly for out-of-area transfers.”

As previously reported, the U.S. Room of Defense has agreed to a request from governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration for federal clinical teams to assist Spectrum health in cool Rapids and Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn.

Meanwhile, health leaders continue to plead v the public: please, get vaccinated and follow an easy safety protocols such together wearing masks and social distancing.

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“Every day folks say, ‘Well, but you know, world with vaccines have the right to still gain COVID,’” Elmouchi said. “They can. However our data, as recently as two days ago, reflects that 91 percent the those that room our 14 hospitals are... Unvaccinated. And also so the crucial to this in mine mind is not, ‘we"re never ever going to eliminate .’ yet if we deserve to minimize it and make that much much less of a severe illness, we"ll carry out better.”

It would be one thing if COVID cases and hospitalizations showed indications of leveling off, Elmouchi said. Yet the tendency lines store rising, v the state poised to break a record number of COVID inpatients.

“The COVID numbers day by day just keep climb up,” he said. “And in ~ this point, there’s no an finish in vision to that.”