Doctor ‘worried people are losing sight of goal’ of COVID-19 mitigation


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — COVID-19 cases are surging in Michigan and hospitals in West Michigan are seeing it firsthand. Some have more COVID-19 patients now than they’ve ever had.

“We are busier here than we have ever been,” Dr. Thomas Rohs, chief medical officer at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, said. “Our case count is going up to somewhere in the range of five to seven times where they were this summer.”

Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids’ online dashboard says it had 167 inpatients as of Friday. While there are currently more than 4,000 confirmed cases in Kalamazoo County, Ascension Borgess would not release specific patient numbers.

Rohs said only that there are three nursing units treating patients now as opposed to one during the last peak in cases in the spring. Ventilators are not a problem yet.

“I’m very worried that people are sort of losing sight of what the goal is here and getting really tired of all the precautions,” Rohs said.

Despite that, he said everyone needs to stay on top of social distancing and to keep wearing masks in public.

“Honestly, I don’t think we’re going to be coming out of this tunnel for another three of four months,” he said. “So we need to take a deep breath and keep our guard up for a little longer and we’ll be able to get through it all together.”

Anti-viral agents like Remdesivir and other treatments have become more prevalent as hospitals start to become more stressed statewide and Rohs remains optimistic with the prospect of a possible vaccine.

“This is not new technology. I personally am not very worried about safety. But I’d sure like to see something be fairly effective,” he said. “If something’s fairly effective, we’re going to be able to open things back up and start moving back towards normal. And so that’s what I’m hoping for.”


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