LANSING — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has announced a federal grant to help hire additional staff at Michigan hospitals.
Under the agreement, the federal government will send two medical teams to local hospitals to relieve doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 and is expected to send 44 additional personnel to Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn and Spectrum Health.
“I’m grateful that the federal government has granted our request to provide much-needed relief to the health care personnel who have remained on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Governor Whitmer said. “Right now, our doctors and nurses are reporting the vast majority of their patients are unvaccinated or have not yet received a booster dose. We can all do our part to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to get a booster dose and continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.”
The additional staffing teams will include registered nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists and will arrive next week to begin treating patients for the next 30 days.
“Hospitals are at capacity across the state, particularly in Metro Detroit and West Michigan,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “We are working hard to give them support, but they also need every Michigander to do their part by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, social distancing and staying home and getting tested if they have symptoms.”
The MDHHS also submitted a request for federal Veterans Affair (VA) hospitals to open beds for civilian transfers, resulting in the John D. Dingell Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit opening beds. The agreement is in place for 30 days and may be extended as the MDHHS and the regional healthcare coalition works with facilities in southeast Michigan and the VA system to identify potential patients and coordinate transfers.
“We deeply appreciate receiving this much-needed support from Governor Whitmer, MDHHS and the federal government to help our courageous staff battle a fourth COVID surge,” Beaumont CEO John Fox said. “The virus has exhausted our teams and resulted in unprecedented staffing challenges at Beaumont Health and health systems across the state. This pandemic is not over by any means. We ask everyone to please get vaccinated. And, if you’re eligible, get a booster shot. Please follow the guidelines experts have repeatedly stressed: Wear a mask, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing. We all must work together to end this pandemic. We need everyone’s help and support,”
The staffing teams come as Michigan hospitals strain due to a spike in COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. In the last 30 days of complete data from Oct. 7 to Nov. 6, 76,201 or 73 percent of 105,043 cases, 1,019 or 72 percent of 1,423 hospitalizations and 473 or 76 percent of 622 deaths were among individuals who were not fully vaccinated.
We can all do our part to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to get a booster dose, and continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. — Governor Whitmer
Dearborn currently leads Wayne County, excluding Detroit, with 17,105 cases and 263 deaths. In Wayne County alone, there have been 14,599 positive cases of COVID-19 since Nov. 10.
“On behalf of our physicians, team members and patients we are grateful for the Department of Defense medical team and appreciate support from state and federal levels as we take every measure to care for our community,” said Spectrum Health President and CEO Tina Freese Decker. “Working together we can address this urgent public health crisis, relieve the strain on our teams and continue to provide high quality care.”
According to hospital data reported to the MDHHS, more than 20 percent of hospital inpatients statewide are COVID positive, with at least 3,963 Michiganders statewide hospitalized.
The state has also requested and received additional allocations of important COVID-19 therapeutics, including 800 additional courses of RegenCoV to allow for additional treatment with monoclonal antibody therapy, which is proven to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.
Some local school districts, like D7 and Crestwood, have decided to go back to virtual learning temporarily due to the spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the community as well in hopes of protecting students and staff, as a majority of the COVID-19 cases in Wayne County are reported in people under the age of 30.
Over the last two days, the state has seen an average of 8,502 positive cases per day, with 280 deaths.
This update brings the state to 1,276,264 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide and 23,595 deaths.
The seven-day positive rate is at 17.56 percent as of Nov. 22 and hospitalizations are at the highest point since the spring surge.
The state also reported more than 10.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of Monday, with 70.8 percent of residents over the age of 16 having received at least one dose and 61.5 percent of residents over the age of 16 being fully vaccinated.
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 47 million cases have been reported in the U.S., with more than 773,800 deaths reported and 450 million doses of the vaccine administered.
Globally, 7.4 billion vaccine doses have been administered, with more than 258 million confirmed cases and more than 5 million deaths.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R- St. Joseph) sent a letter to President Biden requesting COVID-19 help for Michigan.
The resources requested included therapeutics, rapid testing supplies and military medical personnel to assist hospitals as the state reported more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases over the last week.
The lawmakers wrote, “In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases has risen significantly in Michigan and this development has strained the state’s health care infrastructure and resources available to deal with this pandemic… Along with a test positivity rate of nearly 20 percent, this has resulted in a near-record number of hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19, testing the capacity of state hospitals and existing health resources. Some of our hospitals have already surpassed admissions numbers from previous peaks.
“Currently, there are reports of COVID-19 rapid testing shortages in Michigan, as well as an increased need for therapeutics, including monoclonal antibody treatments, specifically Regeneron. Given the severity of the COVID-19 spread in Michigan, we ask that you prioritize increased allocations of rapid tests, as well as Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatments, to the state to support current efforts to combat the current surge in COVID-19 cases. Additionally, we request that you provide military medical personnel to support Michigan civilian health care workers treating COVID-19 patients.”