W MI hospitals work to make space for COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — As coronavirus cases surge, West Michigan hospitals are working to make sure they can keep enough beds open to treat everyone.

Mercy Health Muskegon is discharging patients quickly to make room for COVID-19 patients.

“The doctor just kept saying it’s something that they don’t want to do,” Amy Chandonnet, whose mother was among those discharged, said. “They didn’t plan on sending patients home… It’s unprecedented. That’s the word I heard when I was in the hospital.”

Her 90-year-old mother Delores Peters was in the hospital for heart surgery. The procedures were a success and she was moved to the rehabilitation wing Friday.

“Saturday night, we got a call saying we really need her room for these COVID patients that are coming in, all these patients that need critical care,” Chandonnet said.

Mercy Health Muskegon says it has more than 120 coronavirus patients, the highest number it has seen yet; its peak in the spring was 32 inpatients.

Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, the hospital started deferring elective inpatient surgeries last week and will keep doing so for the next few days.

“We are not engaging in premature discharges, but do attempt to discharge patients, once ready,” the hospital said.

Chandonnet’s mom was expected to spend two weeks in rehab. Instead, was asked to leave after two days.

“The numbers are rising and it’s not fake news,” Chandonnet said. “Just look at the numbers, look at the beds that are being filled in Muskegon. We’re not Detroit. Everyone thought that it was something going on on the other side of the state or in college towns where everyone is out at bars. This is Muskegon and we are getting that many cases that have to be hospitalized.”

Public health officials said last week that some 60% of COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide were outside southeast Michigan.

Chandonnet says finishing her mom’s rehab at home will be difficult, but it’s worth the sacrifice to help others battle coronavirus. She says hospital staff helped her prepare to care for her mom and continue rehab at home.

“It’s affecting everybody either directly or indirectly and everyone needs to do their part,” she said.

Spectrum Health hit its highest COVID-19 inpatient count yet at 274, though that figure was later revised to 264. It is also seeing its highest positivity rate ever at nearly 20%, meaning one in every five patients is testing positive. A couple months ago it was between 2% and 3%.

Spectrum is also canceling some elective surgeries.

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