GENERIC: Hospital

Hospitals and health care systems around Michigan are feeling the strain of increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Hospitals and health care systems around Michigan are feeling the strain of increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The rush of new cases is making it difficult for hospitals in the thumb to provide adequate care.

Dr. Mark Hamed, the medical director for emergency medicine at the McKenzie Health System in Sandusky, said Sanilac County has never had ICU beds for patients.

"I was on a shift Monday. It was a really busy shift on Monday let me tell you," Hamed said.

On Monday, Hamed said there was a COVID-19 patient that required intensive care. Hamed made calls to hospitals in Bay city, Saginaw, Flint, Port Huron, Detroit, and Ann Arbor with no luck.

"It was about a 16- or 17-hour mission to get this person a bed. He ended up going about 120 miles from Sandusky," Hamed said.

Hamed said COVID-19 positivity rates are above 30% in Huron, Tuscola, and Sanilac Counties. Hamed is dealing with plenty of sick patients with COVID-19 in their 30's, 40's, and 50's.

"Some of our people that had COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago who are in that recovered stage now and are coming in with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, other complications. Not even that long hauler COVID-19 you hear about months later. This is stuff like weeks after they feel better. So, we're seeing a lot more of that to now," Hamed said.

This only increases the chances of someone needing an ICU bed and critical care that may be very far away.

"Toledo is a little bit closer than some other areas I was calling that one day so hopefully not," Hamed said.

Hamed said this surge of COVID-19 cases is affecting COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients alike. He fears some people may not be able to get the services they need if hospitals throughout the region are tied up with COVID-19 patients.

"COVID-19 is in our backyard, it's in our front yard. COVID-19 is there in the thumb. It's been there. It's getting worse. Our cases are definitely picking up quite a bit," Hamed said.

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