In the last seven days, Michigan has recorded the sixth highest number of cases and fifth highest number of deaths in the nation, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker.
Additionally, Michigan has the 10th highest death rate.
In a press briefing Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said case rates are growing exponentially throughout the state; since October 1, the state case rate has increased 425% to the highest rates to date.
“Right now we are all trying to prepare because we know a week or two down the road you are going to see that surge coming into the hospital,” said Dr. Justin Skrzynski, an Internal Medicine Physician at Beaumont Royal Oak.
He says doctors have learned a lot and COVID 19 survival rates have improved, but current survival rates are not guaranteed
“We know we can get better outcomes for people. The problem is though, if you have this giant wave of patients coming in, that overwhelms our ability to take care of them we are not going to be able to get those outcomes necessarily,” said Dr. Skrzynski.
Kate Guzman is Administrator of Medical Service for Oakland County Health Division. She says case investigators and contact tracers are having to do case triage and work cases that most likely impact the most vulnerable first. They simply cannot get to all of them. There are too many.
“We are pulling out positive cases over the age of 65, 18 and under because it is school-age, really focusing on the schools. School employees, long term care residents, long term care staff, hospital staff,” said Guzman.
It is something that is happening around the state. She says the health department needs the community to be proactive
“If someone has a positive diagnosis, even before they get a call from the health department, we are hoping they can put themselves in isolation and start calling contacts themselves,” said Guzman.
As people make Thanksgiving plans Dr. Skrzynzki says he knows what he will be doing.
“I am working at the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. I will be taking care of people on that day,” said Dr. Skrzynzki.
He says with the data we are seeing the rational question people should be asking is not whether they want to eat turkey with family, but whether they want everyone to survive for future holidays.
“If we see the same kind of super spreader events for Thanksgiving, we know we are going to see people die of this disease before Christmas rolls around,” said Dr. Skrzynzki.
More than 15% of available inpatient beds currently are filled with COVID-19 patients, and state trends for COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased exponentially over the past five weeks.
MDHHS also said cases and deaths are rising in all age groups, races and ethnicities. Outbreaks are also increasing, specifically in long-term care facilities, schools and sports, in-person workplaces and restaurants/bars.