Michigan sets record for COVID-19 hospitalizations amid 4th surge of virus

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan on Monday set a record for the highest number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,581 adults were hospitalized with confirmed infections, the highest number during the pandemic so far. 

Monday's inpatient tally breaks the previous record set on Dec. 13, when the state health department reported 4,518 adults were hospitalized with confirmed virus infections.

During the surge in the winter of 2020, the number of adults hospitalized with confirmed infections peaked at 3,884 on Dec. 1. During the surge in the spring of 2021, the count was above 4,000 for only a handful of days. 

About 81% of the state's inpatient hospital beds are occupied, state officials reported Monday. About 540 people infected with COVID-19 are on ventilators out of the 833 patients in intensive care units.

As of Monday, 108 children are hospitalized with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases. That's down from a record of 110 children on Friday, state data notes. Another 321 adults are hospitalized with suspected cases.

Michigan on Monday added 44,524 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over three days and 56 deaths from the virus, including cases from Saturday and Sunday. The latest additions bring state totals to 1,681,135 confirmed cases and 27,878 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Michigan set a new record of more than 20,000 cases per day on Friday, up from 13,673 new cases per day on Wednesday.

Michigan's top health officials have described the state's COVID-19 situation as "critical," and have urged vaccinations and boosters as well as continued masking amid a fourth surge of the virus that's been driving up hospitalizations.

About 26% of hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients and there were an average of 2,643 emergency room visits related to COVID-19 every day in the state.

Based on recent data from most Michigan health systems, Michigan's Health and Hospital Association found that 88% of COVID patients are unvaccinated and 85% of COVID deaths are in unvaccinated individuals. 

Beaumont Health, Michigan's largest hospital system, warned Thursday that it had reached a "breaking point" amid the surge, and a federal medical team is extending its 30-day commitment to its Dearborn location an additional 30 days. 

The number of the eight-hospital system's COVID-19 patients increased by about 40% over the past week to 750 patients. About 65% of those hospitalized in the 3,375-bed system are unvaccinated while about 8% have received a booster, according to hospital officials. 

On Friday, the federal government granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's request for additional staffing help at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. 

The hospital is the fifth in Michigan getting federal aid in the form of a civilian Disaster Medical Assistance Team amid the ongoing pandemic. 

The 30-member team, which will include advanced practice physicians, ED and ICU nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, and logistics and supply chain personnel, was to begin treating patients Monday and provide support for the next 14 days.

Department of Defense teams are also deployed in Michigan at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw and Mercy Health Muskegon. 

Bob Riney, president of healthcare operations and Chief Operating Officer at Henry Ford Health System, said Friday that the hospital's team members are "battle wearied and drained emotionally, mentally and physically."

"This support couldn’t have come at a better time for us, as well as the Downriver communities we serve," he said. 

srahal@detroitnews.com 

Staff Writer Beth LeBlanc contributed.