11/11/20 – Spectrum Health Makes Serious Changes to Deal With Virus

Doctors are concerned about the growing number of Covid-19 cases in West Michigan. Spectrum Health will now test only symptomatic patients. Covid-19 cases have risen dramatically with a 14% current positivity rate. Photo courtesy of Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids. MI. November 11, 2020.

Higher rates of Covid-19 have prompted Spectrum Health leaders to make some changes.

“As we’re having increasing demand with so much positivity, and so many people with symptoms in our community, we are prioritizing those with symptoms.  And so starting now, we will be prioritizing symptomatic patients for tests in the community and we will not be performing tests on people solely with exposure.”

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi says Spectrum will also limit visitors to their facilities.

Spectrum is seeing close to three hundred people hospitalized with the coronavirus.

President and CEO Tina Freese Decker says the hospital system is facing a daunting situation since the pandemic began.

“Covid-19 is surging across our state and we are heading in the wrong direction.  On a daily basis we conduct about four thousand tests a day.  Today our positivity rate is about 14%.  Which is similar to the seven day average.  Two weeks ago, it was 10%.”

Those numbers were even lower in the summer.

As a result, hospital leaders are urging residents to consider severely limiting large gathers in order to control the virus’ spread.  Thanksgiving gathering plans may need to change as multiple households getting together may be opportunities for the virus to spread quickly.

Hospital leaders have some good news.  The hospital is preparing to receive vaccines when they become available.  They have already installed several refrigeration systems capable of handing the cold temperatures needed to store a vaccine.