Health officials say the number of hospitalized COVID patients in West Michigan puts healthcare systems in a place never seen before in the pandemic.
COVID cases continue to rise. This current surge of cases is similar to that of a year ago. The majority of cases are from unvaccinated.
“We look at our Mercy Health Saint Mary’s data, 86% of those in the ICU this week were unvaccinated,” says Dr. Matt Biersack, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s President. “88 percent of those that were on ventilators were unvaccinated. so, I think it demonstrates a dramatic effectiveness to vaccines.”
The number of cases has placed a strain on healthcare systems.
“What has taxed all of us here in West Michigan is we’ve had this very gradual but steady climb up, really for over two months, nearly three, and about two and a half, three weeks ago, a sudden jump up,” says Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, Spectrum Health President.
Healthcare systems are reaching full capacity and hospitals are stretched thin – they’re short on staff and equipment such as ventilators.
“There’s national data that suggests that maybe up to 100,000 have left the workforce and among them some of our more experienced clinicians,” says Dr. Biersack.
Health officials remain more focused on fighting the delta variant despite the omicron variant now in the U.S. There are still questions, with the new variant; if it is transmissible, more severe and if the vaccines are effective in fighting it.