Spectrum Health hits new high for COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD/AP) — Spectrum Health officials are sounding the alarm as the Grand Rapids-based health system reaches a new high for COVID-19 patients amid Michigan’s worsening fourth surge of infections.

“What we’re experiencing today is unprecedented. We have not experienced anything like this,” Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, said during a media briefing Tuesday.

Spectrum Health currently has 367 COVID-19-positive patients in its hospitals, the most it has had all through the pandemic.

After months of seeing a slow increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, officials say this past week has seen a dramatic spike.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has 18 kids admitted with COVID-19, which is also the most it has had since the start of the pandemic. At least one child has died from COVID-19 during this most recent surge, according to officials with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. However, they were unable to comment any further.

While hospital beds are in short supply, Spectrum Health officials say they have enough ventilators to meet the needs of their patients.

“There may be times when we are moving ventilators from one hospital to another to meet the needs of our community, but we do have plenty of ventilators on hand,” Spectrum Health Grand Rapids Chief Operating Officer Brian Brasser said.

Statewide, COVID-19 hospitalizations this week surpassed 3,000 for the first time in more than six months while Michigan’s surge accelerates. On Monday, the number of adults hospitalized with confirmed cases was 3,040, up 44% over two weeks.

University of Michigan Health-West, formerly Metro Health, is also caring for more total patients than ever before. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronald Grifka said the hospital has 172 patients admitted, a fourth of whom have COVID-19.

The growing volume of patients has hospital staff desperate for some relief.

“This virus has defied all logical thought processes so far, making it hard to determine if we are at our peak, or how much higher can we get or how much longer we can go,” Grifka said.

Doctors continue to recommend that people get vaccinated. Spectrum Health says approximately 85% of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals are not vaccinated.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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