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How Spectrum Health is readying for more COVID-19 patients

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — While the numbers of coronavirus cases in West Michigan have been lower than those in metro Detroit, Spectrum Health is preparing for a peak in the number of people infected locally.

“Our staff are appropriately anxious and we are watching the news and everything that is coming and we are using that too really activate each other. We are really coming together as a team like we never have before,” Spectrum Health Chief Medical Officer Joshua Kooistra told News 8 Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, Spectrum Health had tested 1,064 patients for coronavirus. Those tests spanned all the health system’s facilities in 13 counties. Of the 53 who have so far tested positive, three were in the hospital.

Kooistra said that because elective surgeries were canceled early on, there are enough beds at hospitals.

But there is still a shortage of masks and other supplies required for staff and patient care. For now, hospital staff are reusing masks until they become worn or contaminated. 

At the moment, the focus is on surge planning. On Tuesday, Grand Valley State University announced it is offering space inside the its Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences on the Medical Mile if there comes a time when more space is needed to treat patients. 

“Grand Valley State University has resources to help fight this virus, and we are pleased to work with Spectrum Health,” university President Philomena V. Mantella said in a statement. “We will provide space and any resources we have to assist our state and country.”

It’s unclear when West Michigan will see a peak in COVID-19 patients. Kooistra said it depends on how well people social distance from each other. 

“We could see a peak in a few weeks,” Kooistra said. “The better we do (at social distancing), the further that pushes that (the peak) out, which gives us time to prepare; allows us to get more (personal protection equipment) and allows more potential treatment and hopefully a vaccine eventually on the horizon.”


CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES