Health | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

Health

A small hospital in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula braces for COVID

Nov 6, 2020
a hospital hallway with people at the end of it
Robin Erb / Bridge

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge eastward through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the reality at tiny War Memorial Hospital can be counted on the fingers of hospital CEO David Jahn.

Six. That’s the number of intensive care beds at War Memorial. On Thursday, five of those beds were filled; one with a COVID patient.

MICHIGAN.GOV

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law Thursday that will give people more information about COVID-19’s impact on nursing homes. 

Starting November 15, the law requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to post weekly reports with information such as current visitation policies and the number of new cases and deaths among residents and staff. 

 

Whether it's strange rashes on the toes or blood clots in the brain, the widespread ravages of COVID-19 have increasingly led researchers to focus on how the novel coronavirus sabotages the body's blood vessels.

The state of Michigan recorded a record high daily number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,101 new confirmed COVID cases on Wednesday. That’s the highest single day total since the outbreak began in March. The previous single day high was 3,782 on October 31.

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is increasing how much information it shares with the public about long-term care facilities and COVID-19. 

Previously, MDHHS only published case and death counts for skilled nursing facilities. The new reports, to be published every Monday, will also include licensed adult foster facilities (AFCs) with 13 or more residents, and licensed homes for the aged (HFAs). 

Adobe Stock

A number of major hospital systems across the state are warning they may have to cancel certain medical procedures if coronavirus cases continue to rise.

As of Thursday, the state reported a total of 1,545 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a 47% increase compared to last Monday, when 1,050 people were hospitalized.

State health department officials are imposing new limits on indoor gatherings to curb surging rates of COVID-19.  

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is dropping the number of people permitted at indoor gatherings from 500 to 50. This would apply to events like weddings. 

HOLLAND HOSPITAL / Used with permission

Some hospitals in metro Detroit are prepared to accept COVID-19 patients from regions of the state that are experiencing a sharper rise in hospitalizations. 

Beaumont Health’s chief operating officer Carolyn Wilson told Michigan Radio that the system’s eight hospitals currently have enough space in their COVID units to accept transfer patients if needed. 

 

“We still have some capacity there, and that is where Beaumont is willing to work with the state and those that need it to transfer some patients in,” she said. 

 

A member of Congress, who has led efforts to investigate alleged coronavirus scams, is calling for the federal government to crack down on an unproven treatment for COVID-19. Widespread sales of that purported treatment - a drug known as thymosin alpha-1 - were first identified by an NPR investigation earlier this month.

When Minnesota family physician Jay-Sheree Allen begins a visit with one of her patients, she starts by turning on the faucet and washing her hands. She no longer shakes hands to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, so she takes a little more time with her hand-washing routine to chat before addressing her patients' medical concerns.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

COVID-19 appears to result in lasting physical symptoms, mental health problems, and economic stressors. 

That’s according to researchers at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, who collaborated with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to interview 638 people who contracted COVID-19 last spring. 

 

Emergency room hospital
Pixabay

Doctors in charge of Michigan hospitals are asking people in Michigan to voluntarily "do the right thing" to slow the spread of COVID-19, now that the Michigan Supreme Court says Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer does not have the authority to issue executive orders on COVID-19.

The statement, signed by 28 top medical officers of hospital systems across the state, was issued after COVID-19-related hospital admissions surged by more than 80% in recent weeks.

Dr. Gary Roth is Chief Medical Officer for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

morgueFile

Health care workers are slated to be in the first group to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan if it becomes available, according to a draft COVID-19 vaccination plan submitted last week to the Centers for Disease Control by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

When Darius Settles died from COVID-19 on the Fourth of July, his family and the city of Nashville, Tenn., were shocked. Even the mayor noted the passing of a 30-year-old without any underlying conditions — one of the city's youngest fatalities at that point.

RHODA BAER / FLICKR

Michigan has a goal to vaccinate about one million more people for the flu this year than it did last year, and so far, we’re making steady progress. 

a political cartoon about tuberculosis
Michigan History Center

To make sense of the present, it sometimes helps to look to the past. One moment in history that’s particularly relevant to our current moment is the tuberculosis epidemic during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Despite the differences in daily life and the advances in medicine and technology since then, the country’s response to tuberculosis outbreaks has clear parallels to the current COVID-19 crisis.

group of college students wearing face masks
Valerii / Adobe Stock

Ottawa County's "staying safe" order for some Grand Valley State University students lifted at midnight Friday.

But students on the Allendale campus are still being urged to take precautions to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19, by wearing masks, physically distancing, and frequent handwashing.

COVID-19 cases among GVSU's students on the Allendale campus surged shortly after classes returned for the fall term. 

RAWPIXEL

Researchers at the University of Michigan say nursing homes might respond better to a second surge of COVID-19 if they have strong formal relationships with local hospitals and health officials. 

A new study looks at how three nursing homes in Washtenaw County responded to COVID-19 outbreaks in April.

 

A sign of the University of Michigan Central Campus
Anna Schlutt / Michigan Radio

Health officials at the University of Michigan are concerned about outbreaks of COVID-19 in residence halls on campus. The occupancy of the university's quarantine and isolation housing has gone from 17% a week ago to 46% as of Friday, according to the U of M's COVID-19 dashboard.

In U of M's weekly COVID-19 update briefing, officials expressed particular concern over an outbreak occurring at Mary Markley Hall. 

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

Michigan reported 2,030 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday—the largest one-day increase the state has seen since the pandemic began in March.

There is some nuance to that number. A computer glitch slowed data transfers earlier this week, which means some cases reported Thursday should have come in Wednesday.

Prison wall
Microsoft Images

A large and growing outbreak of COVID-19 at Marquette Branch Prison has now infected 85 corrections officers and other staff and 182 inmates as of Thursday afternoon, including 50 inmates who were recently transferred from an infection-free facility.

The 85 cases among staff is the highest number of staff testing positive in any one state prison so far.

Chris Gautz is a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections. He says the new transfers were moved out of Chippewa Correctional Facility, after they allegedly participated in a riot.

Health officials in Kent County are pleading with people to take “simple precautions” as new COVID-19 case numbers rise, and hospitals throughout West Michigan see an increase in cases.

Spectrum Health, the area’s largest hospital system, reported 81 confirmed COVID-19 patients in its hospitals as of Thursday, an increase compared to the number of patients it treated for much of the summer.

A chain-link fence and barbed wire
Max Pixel

There's a big outbreak of COVID-19 at the Marquette Branch Prison in the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says it appears that both corrections officers and inmates were routinely failing to wear masks and take other precautions.

He says union officials with the corrections officers union initially claimed the coronavirus was brought into the prison by new inmates from the Chippewa Correctional Facility, transferred to Marquette after a riot, but Gautz says that's clearly not true.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

Two coronavirus studies have been put on pause by drugmakers as they investigate safety concerns.

The pauses are not uncommon or cause for undue concern, but they highlight how little is known about the combination of medications prescribed to President Trump following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Johnson & Johnson paused all clinical trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine after a study participant became sick with an "unexplained illness."

stock photo of surgical masks on a table
Macau Photo Agency / Unsplash

The Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development is distributing 10,000 free masks to residents. It's a part of a state program that gives free masks and other personal protective equipment to community action agencies.

The masks are intended for low-income people, seniors, and other vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Morghan Williams is the human services manager for the Washtenaw County office.

She says the county wants to make sure that all residents have masks.

GUNDULA VOGEL / PIXABAY

In August, during a drive-through parade at the Medilodge of St. Clair nursing home, Jane Ogden jumped from her idling car, popped open a beer, and rushed it to a wheelchair-bound man in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. “Drink it quickly,” she said, “or they might take it away from you.” 

She squeezed her dad’s arm and made to return to the car. Ogden ran into a nurse, who mildly reprimanded her. But she felt, after months of lockdown, that her dad needed the excitement. 

 

Editor's note: Since we published this story, Trump's physician said that the president has completed his treatment for COVID-19.

President Trump told Fox Business Network on Thursday that he will be taking a steroid for COVID-19 for a "little bit longer." As his physicians told reporters last weekend, Trump started taking the drug on Saturday while he was still at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

In case you were still procrastinating getting a flu shot this year, here's another reason to make it a priority.

There's a chance the vaccine could offer some protection against COVID-19 itself, says virologist Robert Gallo, who directs the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is chairman of the Global Virus Network.

green sign saying "no mask, no service" hanging on door to store
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

A group of Michigan doctors is calling on Republican state lawmakers to support a mask mandate and other COVID-19 precautions.

Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion that could restrict Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to issue emergency orders.

The Committee to Protect Medicare is a liberal advocacy group. It has been advocating for mandating face coverings and other restrictions in the face of the pandemic.

In a bid to protect the candidates from the coronavirus, the stage for Wednesday night's vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City will feature plexiglass barriers between Vice President Pence and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Concerns about viral spread are heightened in light of the outbreak in the White House.

Pages