Beds filling up, Mercy Health Muskegon pleads for more to get vaccinated

COVID-19 Vaccine

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Facing an uptick in patients that is leading to longer emergency room wait times, Mercy Health Muskegon is calling on more people to get their COVID-19 vaccine shots.

Mercy Health Muskegon says that under normal circumstances, it averages about 220 patients per weekday and admits about 8% of people who come to the ER. Now, it is seeing up to 250 patients per weekday and admitting about 12% of ER patients. And once those patients are admitted, they’re staying in the hospital longer.

The hospital says its COVID-19 hospitalization peak this month was higher than during the state’s first surge in the spring of 2020.

At the same time, more health care workers are ending up in quarantine because community spread is so high in Muskegon County and across the state. The hospital is working with universities and local agencies to make sure it has enough medical staff.

Statewide, 63.3% of people age 12 and up have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Muskegon County is lagging slightly behind that average with 61.7% having started a vaccination course.

“It is important to note that nearly all ICU patients are unvaccinated and essentially all of the deaths have been in the unvaccinated population,” Dr. Justin Grill, the chief medical officer for Mercy Health Muskegon, said. “It really does create an unfortunate burden on our health care system, one that honestly would be easily eliminated with more widespread vaccination.”

COVID-19 vaccines are free and you can get them through just about any health care system, pharmacy or health department.

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