DEARBORN — With COVID-19 cases seeing record high numbers over the last couple of weeks, local hospitals are bracing for the second wave.
The state of Michigan is tracking bed capacity and available personal protection equipment (PPE) on its website and updates the information daily.
Statewide, bed occupancy among all hospitals is currently at 74 percent capacity. Both Beaumont Dearborn and Garden City Hospitals are currently at 75 percent capacity. Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit is at 78 percent capacity and St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia is at 84 percent capacity.
Dr. Zafar Shamoon, emergency medicine specialist and chairman of emergency medicine at Beaumont Dearborn, said that the capacity numbers can be misleading.
“Yes, the ICUs are nearing bed capacity,” he said. “But that is not just with COVID patients. We are still admitting patients for other things, so adding the COVID patients to that is why our ICUs are nearing capacity.”
Despite nearing capacity for all hospitals statewide, local hospitals have enough PPE for more than 30 days according to the data.
“We at Beaumont are fortunate enough to have received a lot of donations and had the ability to kind of stockpile PPE over the summer months,” Shamoon said. “There is not currently a concern of running out of PPE, at least within the Beaumont health system.”
With the weather changing and cold and flu season coming, Shamoon said this is where the most experienced physicians are struggling.
“We can no longer just look at symptoms and say it’s a cold or the flu,” he said. “The only symptoms that really distinguish COVID from the two are the progression of symptoms, the time frame of symptoms lasting and the loss of taste and smell.”
When patients do go to the hospital or to see any medical professional, Shamoon said it’s imperative to have full disclosure.
“There are no repercussions of being honest,” he said. “We need to be given a good history, any chance of exposure and as much information as possible to help diagnose and treat properly. For the elderly or anyone with a pre-existing condition, they should definitely go to the emergency room. But healthy, young people with no other ailments and minimal symptoms should go to their primary care physician or urgent care.”
While the Dearborn community has been one of the hardest hit areas, Shamoon said he is grateful for the community.
“The Dearborn community has been so incredibly supportive of our facility and our staff,” he said. “I am blessed to work in this community and I am so thankful for the generous donations, letters, recognition, everything that the community has done for us during this trying time. We appreciate it. Those make such a huge difference to us and give our team a recharge. Those small gestures make the biggest difference to us.”
Shamoon also said that with the holidays coming, it’s important to stay safe.
“Don’t be afraid to come into the emergency room,” he said. “If you’re sick, you should still come in. It’s important to not postpone treatment because we need to stay safe and healthy. In my opinion, hand washing, distancing and mask wearing is the best way to combat this virus until there is a vaccine or a cure.”