Beaumont Health nears 'breaking point' with more than 430 employees out sick with COVID-19

Jan 6, 2022 at 2:35 pm
click to enlarge A Beaumont hospital emergency room sign. - J.A. Dunbar, Shutterstock
J.A. Dunbar, Shutterstock
A Beaumont hospital emergency room sign.

Beaumont Heath warned that it’s reaching a “breaking point” because of an influx of COVID-19 patients and more than 450 employees who are out sick with symptoms of the virus.

The health system’s eight Michigan hospitals are caring for more than 750 patients, a 40% increase over the past week.

Beaumont, the state’s largest health care system, is urging its hospitals to consider reducing elective surgeries, outpatient imaging, and testing so they can focus on COVID-19 patients and other pressing medical issues.

For the first time in its history, the hospital purchased full-page ads in local newspapers, titled, “We’re at a breaking point,” to urge people to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated and practicing social distancing.

On Tuesday, Michigan reported its highest number of positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with 27,346 confirmed infections over the past two days.

“The omicron variant is one of the most contagious viruses we have seen in our lifetime,” Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont Health’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology, said in a statement. “It’s more important than ever for the community to help contain the spread of this illness. Our health care systems are overwhelmed. If you have ignored our pleas for help before, now is the time to take action. We need everyone’s help to get through this fourth surge. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.”

Gilpin said employees are “struggling” to keep up with the demand and encouraged patients to show “compassion and understanding.”

Vaccines, especially the booster, continue to make a difference in preventing COVID-19 from progressing to more serious stages, Gilpin said. Only 8% of COVID-19 patients in the hospital received a booster shot.

To help the depleted staff at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, the U.S. Department of Defense’s medical team is staying an additional month. The team, which was scheduled to leave on Jan. 2, consists of six registered nurses assigned to the emergency enter, eight resisted nurses assigned to the intensive care units, two respiratory therapists, and two advance practice providers.

“They’ve done phenomenal work alongside our amazing staff at Dearborn,” Tom Lanni, chief operating officer of Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, said. “We were able to open additional beds in critical care, and our patients and staff have truly benefited from the expertise the DOD team has brought to our hospital. We feel fortunate to be able to work with DOD team members for an additional month.”

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