GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan is now the worst COVID-19 hot spot in the nation, and local hospitals are overwhelmed.

The health care systems with Region 6, which includes 13 West Michigan counties, put out a plea to the community, asking for help to get back on track.

Dr. Dan Roper, the emergency department medical director for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s says hospitals are at the tipping point, and staff members are exhausted.

“We are seeing tons of COVID-19 and we’re also seeing a lot of other serious health conditions,” Roper said. “The combination puts us in a state where we’re beyond capacity in the hospital right now, which is leading to some wait times and a lot of anxiety among a lot of people.”

Roper says many are over capacity and that leaves longer wait times in the emergency room and delays in non-emergency treatments and surgeries.

He says it’s important for people to take care of their health, but says if you can be treated at your doctor’s office or urgent care, go there instead of the ER.

He also recommends getting vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu, which are expected to hit our area hard this season.