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COVID-19 cases spike, hospital beds decline in Michigan

Michigan reached an ignominious milestone this week: one million COVID-19 cases and counting. There have been nearly 22,000 deaths in Michigan because of the pandemic. COVID-19 cases accounted for And guess who are responsible for a climbing number of cases: unvaccinated people.

Michigan hospitals are struggling to keep up with the demand for services. They’re responding to the increased demand for hospital beds in a curious way: they’re closing down hospital beds. Hospitals do not have enough staff to care for all the patients they’re licensed to admit. They’re doing what they have to in order to continue doing what they can.

St. Joe’s reported itself to be at 99% capacity this morning. The University of Michigan Hospitals are at 90% capacity, with 17 COVID 19 patients in the ICU. Washtenaw County is in Region 2S. Our region has the highest number of hospitalized confirmed positive adult COVID-19 cases in the state. We also have the highest number of hospitalized, confirmed-positive pediatric COVID-19 case. And the highest number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators. It also seems worth mentioning that Region 2S has the highest number of adult COVID-19 ICU admissions, the highest number of pediatric COVID-19 ICU admissions and the highest number of previous-day COVID-19 related ER visits.

Everyone can help stop COVID-19

You can argue that people come to Washtenaw County for the hospital care. You’d be right. But people come here not just for COVID care. Our hospitals treat a lot of trauma victims, cancer patients, stroke and heart attack victims. And they can’t do that very well when our hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients from around our region and the state.

Last week, Beaumont Hospital was asking people to stop coming to their Emergency rooms because they were dangerously full. The same thing will happen – and is happening – here. You may not get care for your car accident injuries/broken arm/heart attack/burn/diabetic shock/asthma attack/blood clot because our local hospitals are filled with COVID-19 patients.

One of the best ways to ensure that our hospitals remain below capacity is to vaccinate. Vaccinations have proven to be very good at limiting the severity of COVID-19 cases – reducing hospitalizations by 90% or more among vaccinated individuals. Instead of having 17 COVID-19 patients in their ICUs, Michigan Medicine could have 2.

Institutions that routinely connect with the public – like Washtenaw Community College – have a responsibility to ensure that its operations do not contribute to the burdens of the other public service institutions. (Like hospitals.) Mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for student, faculty and staff will help reduce the case load and ensure that WCC remains “open for business.” It will also have the effect of reducing the cost of group health insurance policies next year by reducing hospitalizations. By itself, that is a valid reason for mandating the vaccine. (Even though WCC has never mastered the art of cost-control for group insurance premiums or anything else.)

Mandate the vaccination for all in-person activities on campus. It’s really just that simple.

Photo Credit: Gon Razortapes , via Flickr