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Covid cases rising

Covid cases are rising to the highest peak since the pandemic, hospitals are the fullest they have been since it started, and schools are closing this week due to staff shortages and illness.

“The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We are issuing the face mask advisory and are looking to Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, their families and their communities by wearing a mask in indoor settings and getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu as soon as possible if they have not already done so.”

Kent County is one of the hotspots for the virus. According to a news release issued Tuesday, the current test positivity rate is 22.8 percent, the 7-day average for new cases is 645, and local hospitals and ICUs are operating at extremely high capacity.

“This is a crisis for all of us who live and work in Kent County,” said Dr. Adam London, KCHD Director. “The capacity for hospitals to provide care, which is exasperated by staffing shortages, is at a tipping point. We should all expect increased wait times for emergency, urgent, and primary care as well as delays in ambulance transfers and some surgical procedures until we control the spread of COVID-19 in the community.”

As a result of increasing numbers of patients admitted with COVID-19 and hospitals at or near capacity throughout West Michigan, Spectrum Health is revising its visitor policies to reduce the number of people in its Grand Rapids and regional hospitals and outpatient care sites. 

“Spectrum Health is happy to welcome visitors who want to be with their loved ones,” said Chad Tuttle, senior vice president, hospital and post-acute operations, Spectrum Health West Michigan. “Like hospitals across West Michigan, Spectrum Health is experiencing high demand for our services and our hospitals are very full. While our teams focus on care, visitors can help their loved ones feel more comfortable during their stay and keep everyone healthy and safe by following our updated visitor guidelines.”

Effective Tuesday, Nov. 23, patients are allowed only one adult visitor in the following areas: All inpatient rooms, emergency departments, urgent care, walk-in clinics, surgery, radiology and lab locations, as well as labor and delivery. Adult COVID-19-patients are allowed only one adult visitor, who must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines.

Spectrum Heath pediatric patients may have two adult visitors in the emergency department, urgent care, surgery and lab. Pediatric radiology patients can have one adult visitor. 

Pediatric inpatient areas allow two adult visitors, who must be the same people throughout the patient’s stay. In double occupancy rooms, a pediatric patient is only allowed one parent. Pediatric COVID-19 patients are allowed two adult visitors, who must be the same people throughout the patient’s stay and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines.

Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the care teams involved based on end-of-life care or special needs. Adults are individuals ages 18 and older. Children and minors will be allowed as visitors only in limited circumstances.

Both Kent County and the State of Michigan ask that people get vaccinated against both Covid and influenza; get tested if you’ve been exposed or are showing symptoms; wear a mask during indoor gatherings; and take other preventative steps such as avoiding large indoor gatherings; practicing good handwashing; physical distancing; and covering your coughs and sneezes.

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