Michigan hospital chiefs plead with public to do its part amid surging hospitalizations

Chief medical officers who oversee community hospitals in Michigan urged the public to do its part to stop the surge of coronavirus infections amid near-record hospitalizations and staff shortages in the state. 

In a statement posted to the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s website Monday, chief medical representatives stated that medical facilities have been inundated with COVID-19 patients. 

As of Nov. 21, the release stated, Michigan has seen 3,785 people hospitalized for COVID-19, including 784 in community hospitals’ intensive care units. The majority of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, the medical officers said. 

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“In addition to these high numbers of COVID-19 patients requiring emergency care and hospitalization, we are seeing high numbers of patients with other medical conditions requiring care,” the statement said. 

Between the COVID-19 infections and other, non-coronavirus related ailments, officials warn, hospitals are at capacity. 

“We cannot wait any longer for Michigan to correct course; we need your help now to end this surge and ensure our hospitals can care for everyone who needs it.” 

News from the Wolverine State comes amid an uptick of coronavirus infections across the nation as breakthrough infections continue and a significant portion of Americans remain unvaccinated. 

The Midwest, parts of the Northeast, and other areas of the U.S. have all seen increases in cases, according to a heat map from The New York Times.

The medical officers stressed in their Monday release that on top of hospitals operating at maximum capacity, Emergency Medical Services were also being pushed to their limit. 

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“There may be times when capacity in the system is not adequate to accommodate the usual response and speed of transport, especially for out-of-area transfers,” the officers said. 

The officials said that Michigan residents can do their part to relieve this increasing strain on the state's medical system by getting vaccinated or, if they are already vaccinated, by getting a booster shot. 

They also recommended social distancing and limiting exposure to others.

Michigan has had a fraught history with coronavirus restrictions. Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMichigan prosecutor calls state gun laws 'woefully inadequate' 65M women could lose abortion rights in Supreme Court case Judge orders pro-Trump election lawyers to pay 5,000 in sanctions MORE (D) imposed restrictions at the start of the pandemic and drew major blowback from critics and Republicans in the state legislature. 

Discontent with the measures escalated when armed protesters gathered at the state Capitol in Lansing in 2020 to protest Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. 

At a press conference on Monday, Whitmer made her own call for unvaccinated Michigan residents to get COVID-19 shots before the holidays. 

"Take this opportunity to tell your loved ones how much you love them and how much you want to spend Christmas with them," she said, per The Detroit News. "It's time to get vaccinated."