Sparrow Hospital in Lansing enacts emergency plans amid COVID surge

‘There are economic constraints people have in certain job. If you say, ‘I need you to stay home for 10 days,’ it’s just not possible.’
Sparrow Hospital in Lansing enacts emergency plans amid COVID surge
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 10:46 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s a COVID emergency at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.

As beds are filling up, Sparrow Health System is enacting its emergency preparedness plan for the next eight weeks to deal with the surge of coronavirus cases.

The hospital is offering bonus shifts to caregivers to deal with the influx of patients, opening new spaces in the hospital to make room for more patients and are asking the Department of Defense to assist in their efforts.

Sparrow Hospital is also stopping all elective surgeries due to the surge in COVID cases.

A representative with Sparrow Hospital said they’re on trend to set a record number of patients staying at the facility. As of Monday night, they have 149 COVID patients inside.

Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said the spike was predicted and not a surprise. She said there are a number of reasons Michigan is seeing an uptick in cases.

“You would’ve expected a wave around this time of year,” Vail said. “There are economic constraints people have in certain jobs. If you say, ‘I need you to stay home for 10 days,’ it’s just not possible. We can’t completely blame and shame there because our system isn’t set up to support that very well.”

Vail also said unvaccinated people who congregate are also to blame in the spread of COVID.

“Bubbles of unvaccinated people at a time when we have a virus that is four or five times more contagious -- the delta variant,” Vail said. “You have people concentrating now in very vulnerable networks and bubbles with a very highly transmissible virus. That starts to explain why case numbers are up.”

Related: Mid-Michigan health officials urge residents to remain vigilant as COVID cases rise

It’s not all unvaccinated people taking up the beds, but Vail said the vaccine is doing what it’s intended to do.

“The vaccine does work. We are still seeing more cases in unvaccinated than vaccinated,” Vail said. “Hospitalizations and deaths are still majority of people with no vaccine.”

Much like the flu and RSV, Vail said we may not see relief from this wave until February or March.

Here’s where visitor restrictions stand at Sparrow Health System:

  • In the inpatient departments, only two people can visit a patient at a time.
  • In the emergency room, only one visitor is allowed.
  • If the patient in the emergency room is a child, two parents can be there.
  • Waiting rooms remain closed at Sparrow hospitals and all patients are screened for COVID.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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