State of Michigan secures additional staffing to support hospitals

44 additional medical personnel will assist and support staff at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn and Spectrum Health

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that the federal government has granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for additional staffing assistance at Michigan hospitals. Under the agreement, the federal government will send two medical teams to local hospitals to relieve doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 and other patients.

“I’m grateful that the federal government has granted our request to provide much-needed relief to the health care personnel who have remained on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “Right now, our doctors and nurses are reporting the vast majority of their patients are unvaccinated or have not yet received a booster dose. We can all do our part to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to get a booster dose, and continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.”

The additional staffing teams, with 22 medical personnel each, will support staff at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. The teams, which will include registered nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists, will arrive next week and begin treating patients immediately, providing support for the next 30 days.

“Hospitals are at capacity across the state, particularly in Metro Detroit and West Michigan, and this is taking a tremendous toll on our health care workers,” said Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director. “We are working hard to give them support, but they also need every Michigander to do their part by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, social distancing and staying home and getting tested if they have symptoms.”

In addition, MDHHS submitted a request for federal Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals to open beds for civilian transfers resulting in the John D. Dingell Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit opening beds. The initial agreement is in place for 30 days and may be extended. MDHHS and the regional healthcare coalition will work with facilities in Southeast Michigan and the VA system to identify potential patients and coordinate transfers.

“We deeply appreciate receiving this much-needed support from Governor Whitmer, MDHHS and the federal government to help our courageous staff battle a fourth COVID surge,” said Beaumont Health CEO John Fox. “The virus has exhausted our teams and resulted in unprecedented staffing challenges at Beaumont Health and health systems across the state. This pandemic is not over by any means.  We ask everyone to please get vaccinated. And, if you’re eligible, get a booster shot. Please follow the guidelines experts have repeatedly stressed: wear a mask, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing. We all must work together to end this pandemic. We need everyone’s help and support.”

“On behalf of our physicians, team members and patients we are grateful for the Department of Defense medical team and appreciate support from state and federal levels as we take every measure to care for our community,” said Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, Spectrum Health. “Working together we can address this urgent public health crisis, relieve the strain on our teams and continue to provide high quality care.”

The federal staffing teams come as Michigan hospitals strain due to a spike in COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. In the last 30 days of complete data (Oct. 7 – Nov. 5), 76,201 (73%) of 105,043 cases, 1,019 (72%) of 1,423 hospitalizations and 473 (76%) of 622 deaths were among individuals who were not fully vaccinated.  

According to hospital data reported to MDHHS, over 20% of hospital inpatients statewide are COVID positive. There are regional differences with some facilities reporting that nearly 50% of inpatients are COVID positive.  As of Nov. 22, 3,963 Michiganders are hospitalized for COVID-19. 

Michigan has also requested and received additional allocations of important COVID-19 therapeutics. To help treat COVID-19 patents, 800 additional courses of RegenCoV were allocated to Michigan based on a special request to the federal allocation team. This will allow for additional treatment with monoclonal antibody therapy which is proven to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.