LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Hospital leaders warned Thursday that more than 3,000 people are hospitalized with the coronavirus in Michigan, a rate that is doubling every two weeks and is expected to soon top the spring peak of about 4,000.
“It’s very serious,” said John Fox, president and CEO of Beaumont Health, the state’s largest system.
Unlike six months ago, COVID-19 is surging statewide, not just in the Detroit area — making it tougher for hospitals to manage by transferring patients or staff elsewhere. Hospital executives echoed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s calls to wear a mask, socially distance and wash hands. Some reported continued resistance to face coverings from some visitors to their hospitals.
They said they want to avoid a new ban on nonessential procedures, pointing out that government-issued prohibition early in the pandemic delayed care, hurt patients and had financial implications. They said a broad stay-at-home order is not needed but said some targeted restrictions may be necessary.
Meanwhile, Michigan’s largest school district will suspend in-person classes next week, joining other districts that have shifted to online-only classes as coronavirus cases rise significantly. Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said he cannot ignore a city infection rate that is climbing after reaching nearly 5% last week.
“The district relied on science and the data to reopen schools for in-person learning this summer and fall and relied on the same (criteria) to decide that it was no longer safe for our students and employees to work in an in-person school environment,” Vitti said.
The suspension will last until Jan. 11 unless numbers improve, he said.
Vitti faced criticism from some teachers and activists for offering a face-to-face option for his roughly 50,000 students, but he said families deserved choices.
Whitmer planned a separate afternoon event.
The state reported 6,008 new infections Wednesday and 42 additional deaths.
© 2020 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.