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Beaumont hospital near Detroit to reopen as coronavirus surge never came

Several communities in the Downriver region near Detroit are getting medical relief as Beaumont Hospital in Wayne is scheduled to reopen, possibly as early as Monday, after being temporarily sidelined amid the coronavirus crisis, according to multiple sources. 

The Beaumont Wayne campus was designated as a reserve COVID-19 hospital in April as the state's largest hospital system braced for a surge. With the Royal Oak, Troy and Grosse Pointe hospitals getting slammed, the Wayne campus was put in a holding pattern in case beds at its other hospitals ran out.

But the surge did not require Wayne to be held back for overflow patients. So Beaumont is moving to turn the campus back into what it was: a full-service hospital with the only Level III trauma center in the region.

Beaumont has declined to offer specifics on the reopening of the Wayne campus, saying only: "As we have said from the beginning, we are going to reopen our Beaumont Hospital, Wayne campus. We are still working through the details and timing and we will share more information as soon as we can."

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Bridge Magazine, the Detroit Free Press and Michigan Radio are teaming up to report on Michigan hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. We will be sharing accounts of the challenges doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel face as they work to treat patients and save lives. 

If you work in a Michigan hospital, we would love to hear from you. You can contact Robin Erb rerb@bridgemi.comat Bridge, Kristen Jordan Shamus at the Free Press and Kate Wells at Michigan Radio. 

According to sources familiar with Beaumont's Wayne transition, the hospital could reopen as early as Monday, or even the following week, and staff is currently being notified about moving back to Wayne. When the hospital was sidelined, many employees were transferred elsewhere and some temporarily laid off. It is not known if all employees will return to their jobs. 

The planned reopening of Beaumont Hospital, Wayne comes against the backdrop of growing demands for the state to allow hospitals to resume routine medical procedures. Among those making such pleas is Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who on Thursday said he  plans to spend the next week lobbying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and hospital officials to provide more medical services.

Hospital executives have complained that the state’s ban on revenue-generating elective surgeries and procedures during the COVID-19 surge is causing health systems to lose tens of millions of dollars, in some cases threatening some hospitals’ ability to remain open. 

Duggan cited figures showing that the number COVID-19 deaths has fallen dramatically from just a few weeks ago, from nearly 300 deaths a week in early April to 92 by month’s end.

Duggan said the success in slowing the spread of the coronavirus has resulted in 700 empty hospital beds in Detroit, and 100 empty ICU beds.

"The one thing I’m really calling on our governor and our hospitals and our doctors to work on is opening up the rest of the medical system," Duggan said. "Having 700 empty beds is something we never saw in this city in a normal year."


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