Spectrum Health sees 700 November COVID-19 cases among staffers in west Michigan

More than 700 hospital staffers at 14 of Spectrum Health's west Michigan hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19 in November, The Detroit News reported.

Darryl Elmouchi, MD, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, attributed most of the infections to community spread during a Nov. 19 media briefing.

"We actually do very vigorous contact tracing internally, and find the vast majority, over 60 percent, know where they got it, and almost always it's in the community. They went to dinner with a friend, the next day tested positive," Dr. Elmouchi said during the briefing.

"We have about 20 percent who are unsure where they got it, and another 20 percent that generally believe they might have gotten it at work — and most of those exposures are from other staff. 

"From a staffing standpoint, we are doing OK now, but much like the community, we have a lot of staff that have contracted COVID-19 in the community, and therefore are calling in sick," he said.  

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spectrum Health is dealing with a COVID-19 surge.

Dr. Elmouchi told local station WOOD-TV Nov. 19 that Spectrum Health's west Michigan hospitals had 345 inpatients with COVID-19 and about 75 to 80 patients in intensive care units. This compares to Nov. 11 when fewer than 300 patients were hospitalized.

"While we're not seeing any influenza yet, we're seeing a host of all sorts of other illnesses, like heart attacks, like strokes, so our ICUs as a result of that are very full, and we're doing everything we can to make sure we can take care of your non-COVID problems as well as COVID," Dr. Elmouchi said.

He said Spectrum Health has reached traditional capacity in Grand Rapids and boosted that capacity by about 50 percent in the last three weeks.

The health system plans to continue expanding capacity as needed and has tighter visitor restrictions at its west Michigan hospitals, he said. Some elective procedures requiring inpatient stay have been deferred, he said.

Michigan reported 7,592 new coronavirus cases Nov. 19.


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