COVID patients quadruple in Michigan hospitals since October

Hospital beds across the state are becoming in short enough supply that some procedures are being put off. (Shutterstock)

Michigan hospitals are seeing a wave of new COVID-19 patients fill beds across the state, creating fears over testing, staff and capacity issues — and yet another plea for everyone to wear masks and limit contact with others.


In just over five weeks, Michigan hospitals have seen the number of COVID-19 patients quadruple, from just under 700 on Oct. 1 to more than 2,800 on Monday, including a nearly 400-patient increase since Friday.

“We are getting close to a point where people won’t be able to get care for COVID” or other health issues, said Ruthanne Sudderth, spokeswoman for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

Tests are getting harder to find because so many people have coronavirus symptoms, hospital staff are getting infected, taking them out of commission, and hospital beds are becoming in short enough supply that some procedures are being put off.

“We are very concerned,” Sudderth said. “It’s time for people to change their behavior.”

In the spring, a dearth of personal protective equipment caused many health care workers to get infected from patients and fellow co-workers. Now, with sufficient amounts of gloves, masks and gowns at work, workers are catching the disease elsewhere, Sudderth said.


The result is the same though: those workers have to quarantine and get better themselves before they can go back to work and help others.

The stunning jump in hospitalizations shows no signs of slowing down: More than 11 percent of all coronavirus tests are coming back positive, up from 3.1 percent on Oct. 1, as the virus has spread rapidly across much of the state. 

The Upper Peninsula, with 71 patients, is at an all-time high for COVID-19, as is northern Michigan and west and southwest Michigan. And hospitals in metro Detroit’s six counties are treating over 1,300 patients, up 200 from Friday alone.

At Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest hospital system, hospitalizations of people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 more than doubled over the past two weeks, from 172 patients on Oct. 25 to 377 cases on Sunday. 

On Monday, the state reported 62 new deaths, including 10 in Kent County, putting the November total at 300 in just nine days and on pace for over 1,000 in the month, which would be the third worst month after April and May.

Spectrum Health, which operates 13 hospitals including two in Grand Rapids in Kent County, is currently treating 269 patients, its highest total. A week ago the system had 183 patients.

And over the last week, 13 percent of the health system’s tests have come back positive, a harbinger of even more patients in the weeks ahead, said Brian Brasser, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Spectrum.

“And so it is continuing to climb and that is what makes us concerned because all indications would indicate what would point to hospitalizations lagging the positivity,” Brasser said.

Demand for tests has soared with many people feeling ill and Spectrum is already limiting tests to only those with symptoms. And this week it has stopped some elective procedures that require an overnight stay, Brasser said.

As of now, the health system can treat those who need care, including both COVID-19 patients and those with other illnesses, Brasser said. 

“We are here for them,” he said. “We've been planning for this for a long time. This is not what we want to see in terms of the positivity rates and then the hospitalizations but our teams are prepared.”

While waiting to see if Halloween parties generated cases while also worrying about the upcoming holiday season, Sudderth said MHA is encouraging people to consider “downsizing” Thanksgiving: fewer people, with gatherings held outside if possible, more masks and simple safety precautions such as not sharing utensils.

“The only way for us to curb this and to … successfully bend the curve that we did so well early in the spring, is that individuals adopt those behaviors,” Brasser said.

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No Worries
Tue, 11/10/2020 - 9:02am

Don't worry everyone: According to the TV commercials, as soon as Biden becomes president, he's going to crap out a vaccine and magically make it immediately available to over 350 million people. And if you're a big donor, I'll bet you'll get it even sooner.

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 11:44am

I hope you are right.

Lorraine Howlett
Tue, 11/10/2020 - 8:54pm

No Worries is one of the most ridiculous comments anyone can make. Anyone with one brain cell knows that what you have said is not true. It will take months before most people have the choice of taking a vaccine for Covid-19. The first available doses will possibly be available by the end of December and will go to people working in hospitals, EMT's, police, firefighters, and those at highest risk. We don't know how long the immunity with this vaccine will last nor will we since the 3rd stage of testing just finished.

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 9:06pm

I don’t know what commercials or channels you watch. By the tone of your comment, it sounds like you are “crapping” on hope.
So sorry your guy lost, but Biden is now going to clean up the big mess the wannabe Dictator left this country in.

fake news hoax
Wed, 11/11/2020 - 1:58am was supposed to be gone after joe got elected. Do we now have to wait for him to take office? (In the best droopy dog voice you could think of.)

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 9:54am

This is a virus which MUST be allowed to run its course and it cannot be stopped by ineffective cloth masks and destroying people's livelihoods. This is also flu season so how many of those hospitalized are actually suffering from it or pneumonia? We'll never know will we since the CDC stated it would not track either for this season. A nurse friend on a major hospital's CV floor stated that yes, they are treating more patients but they are LEAVING sooner because of the weakening virus and better knowledge of how to treat the virus. I doubt those 'death' as truly covid caused since the CDC asked doctors to label all deaths as cv without tests or with only a mere suspicion. Also, they admitted that only 6% of all the nation's deaths were from pure cv, the rest were caused by 2-3 underlying medical conditions.

A doctor friend said this virus has been politicized instead of truly medically handled. You should also post the survival rates of CV which the CDC posted recently: almost 100% for young people 0-19; 99.8% for 20-49; 99.7% for 50 to 69; 95% for 70 and up. Why then, the hysteria over a VIRUS with those survival rates?

Let us handle this virus on our own. We have always dealt with flu and pneumonia and all other diseases without the heavy hand of nanny gov't on our necks, and without causing all the collateral damage this heavy hand has caused, which no one seems to want to acknowledge: suicide, drug & alcohol increase, domestic violence, depression, despair, loss of livelihoods, etc. Is all this worth it for a virus with those survival rates? We already know how to avoid the sick, stay home if sick, wash hands, etc... We don't need to be controlled like we are toddlers and helpless. Protect the truly vulnerable (like nursing home residents...ahem), and let the healthy alone.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 12:41am

Very well stated. It is interesting that everywhere I go in Michigan masking is near universal and yet the cases are growing. Hmmm...guess why. This is happening in other areas of the world where masking is near universal.

Emma A
Tue, 11/10/2020 - 11:45am

Thanks to Trump, the vaccine is still a long way off.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 12:58am

Didn't you see Phizer's statement this week?

Grow up, People!
Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:01pm

It didn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way.

Covid cadavers ...
Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:12pm

Sadly Republicans, especially in Michigan, don't care about this news or reality. They will say BS like of course cases are going up, there is more testing, or they will say it doesn't matter because no one is dying, it's no worse than seasonal flu. I know dummies in my own family say this BS, but I also see it in the comments here for Bridge reports.

So Michigan take note, here is the reality now in Texas:

El Paso, Texas, Calls in Ten Morgue Trucks as Coronavirus Cases Surge

Pity the Fool
Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:13pm

Just look at the areas that voted for Trump, attended Trump rallies.

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 2:23pm

The fatality rate is lower-enough of the scare tactics. Your guy won.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 12:55am

It is interesting that as I travel the Detroit metro area I find masking almost universal and yet cases are rising. I also was in the physicians office recently and spotted a poster on the wall that blatantly exaggerated the effectiveness of masks. The poster was from the health department. People are being mislead. Also, the Governor has failed miserably at communicating the nutritional and behavioral practics that aid in support of the immunsystems of Michiganders which are severely compromised leaving them vulnerable. There are early things that can be done that abort the course of disease. This included the early outpatient administration of Hydoxychloroquine and (or) Ivermectin treatment regimens. This keeps people out of hospitals.
It is shameful that this is not promoted. A medical professionals perspective.