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Health Officials Provide Latest COVID-19 Press Conference

Heroes Work Here

Health officials say that delays in routine check-ups and medical procedures has become a concern.

Munson Healthcare is only taking emergency cases while staff battle a high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

In Tuesday’s press conference, Dr. David Gordon Physician Chief of Cancer Services at Munson Healthcare listed the high risk patients such as those with cancer, cardiovascular disease, immunocompromising conditions or obesity, especially if they have COVID.

“We have a major issue in terms of protecting our patients,” says Dr. Gordon. “From infection and instructing the people they are around, including their caregivers, that this is a really important thing. That can be really lethal for brother, sister, or whoever you’re looking after.”

Cancer screenings were cut back at the beginning of the pandemic due to exposure concerns from both staff and patients.

Gordon says he knows only a few cancer patients that have died due to COVID-19.

We’ve been pretty fortunate I don’t know whether it’s because we’ve been careful or we’ve just been lucky so we worry about it all the time,” he says. “I don’t know the exact number but I know there have been a few.”

He adds the most common issue is convincing caregivers to get vaccinated.

“It’s frustrating because it’s like you don’t understand the effect you may be having on your person,” says Gordon.

There has been an uptick in hospitalizations at Munson.

Tuesday morning, 87 hospitalizations were reported. Fifty-four of those people were unvaccinated.

The overall patient volume is up 15 percent compared to December 2019 and January 2020. And it only increased more, patient volume when up to 67 percent when charted from December 2020 to mid-January 2021.

One in six hospitalizations across the Munson Healthcare system in December of 2021 and January 2022 was due to COVID-19.

This number of inpatient cases is unusual compared to past winters.

“Winter, with the exception of kids, tends to be a slower time in the hospitals. So, that’s why we thought this was important to kind of show this, that our volumes overall are up,” Nefcy said.

It takes more to care for COVID-19 patients than other inpatient cases. This comes on top of staffing issues and staff members themselves getting sick.

In Michigan, 76 percent of the population has some form of immunity from vaccination or having COVID. Only a quarter of people have been boosted. That leaves 2.4 million people in Michigan that do not have any form of immunity.