COVID-19 inpatient numbers at Munson set new document, officials restrict visitors | COVID-19

TRAVERSE CITY – The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Munson Healthcare hospitals has more than doubled since November 1, setting another record, according to figures the hospital released Tuesday morning .

Hospital officials reported 131 inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients in the network’s six hospitals, including 73 at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Numbers reported Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services show that there were 52 COVID patients in intensive care beds at Munson’s hospitals.

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That surge forced Munson administrators to reintroduce visitor restrictions – an announcement released Tuesday morning outlined new restrictions restricting visitors to one person per patient per day with a two-hour limit. The new policy includes a handful of exemptions, including for obstetrical, pediatric and end-of-life patients.

“Our current COVID-19 patient numbers remain very high and our hospitals are seeing increased numbers of other patients in acute need,” said Christine Nefcy, Munson Healthcare’s chief medical officer. “We know our patients want to be with their loved ones in times of need, but we also need to do what is necessary to protect our health team, our patients and visitors. We ask our congregations for patience during this time. “

The surge in hospital admissions comes as a fourth wave of the pandemic virus hit Michigan, driving the state’s daily new infections to the nation’s worst status. That surge caused several school districts in the Grand Traverse area to cancel classes for the shortened Thanksgiving week as administrators faced a growing number of infections, quarantines, and worsening staff shortages.

Traverse City Area public schools officials issued seven COVID-19 notices regarding school exposure on Monday.

The data released by MDHHS on Monday showed that 83 percent of all hospital beds in the state were occupied, and 30 hospitals in Michigan reported that 90 percent or more of the available beds were occupied.

Increases in both COVID-19 patients and others, in addition to staffing shortages, prompted Munson Healthcare to move into the “red” phase of the pandemic response plan on November 9, as previously reported. That meant further cuts in services and some clinic and laboratory time to focus efforts on COVID-19 care.

Several other hospital systems have since made similar statements, and many have started implementing more restrictive visitor policies, including Spectrum hospitals.

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