9 Michigan healthcare execs warn of ‘capacity crisis’ as COVID-19 cases rise

Nine administrators representing 14 hospitals in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are urging state residents to do their part in the battle against COVID-19.

“In recent weeks, we have seen COVID-19 cases trending upwards in the Upper Peninsula, with nine of our 15 counties categorized as having the highest risk level for the spread of COVID-19,” begins a letter from hospital administrators, released Nov. 2 and shared with Becker’s. “In addition, COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Upper Peninsula have surged by nearly 200 percent in the past four weeks and are the highest the region has seen since the pandemic began.”

Regardless of state law, executive orders, or local public health directives, Upper Peninsula hospitals and health systems agree in their policies and interventions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the letter states. This includes requiring staff, patients and visitors to follow public safety protocols such as mask-wearing, screenings upon entry to healthcare facilities, and limitation of visitors, the hospital administrators said.

Amid the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, local and regional healthcare systems are “at risk of a capacity crisis,” and healthcare workers will suffer additional stress and exposure risk if the trend continues, the letter states.

The hospital administrators, including CEOs, said the decision to continue safety measures is driven by data and guidance from healthcare experts. The measures keep hospitals and healthcare facilities safe for patients to receive routine and emergency care and are intended to prevent a catastrophic surge in hospital admissions and COVID-19 deaths, they said. The administrators urged state residents to follow these precautions, including mask-wearing, social distancing and avoiding crowds, while in public.

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