Hospitals at or near capacity with flu patients


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Several hospitals in West Michigan are at or near capacity because so many patients have been admitted with influenza.

Spectrum Health says it is near capacity, as does Holland Hospital. Metro Health in Wyoming and Mercy Health in Muskegon say they have seen more cases of the flu than usual, but they still have open beds.

Last season, the peak number of flu patients admitted to Spectrum Health was 37. The peak so far this season is 115 — more than three times as many. And the flu, now listed nationally as a pandemic, may get worse.

An emergency plan posted at Spectrum’s website says that when hospitals get near or at capacity, the first thing would be to cancel elective procedures and non-emergency admissions. The plan also outlines the possibility of transporting patients to other hospitals in the region that do have bed space.

Dorine Berriel-Cass, Spectrum’s manager of infection prevention, said the hospital could also press other buildings into service if necessary.

She said there will “absolutely” be space at the hospital for people who really need care.

“All of the hospitals in West Michigan now are experiencing a large influx of flu patients, but we still have capacity to care for our patients,” Berriel-Cass said.

In an effort to stop the spread of the flu, Spectrum and Holland Hospital ask that people who are sick don’t come to the hospital as a visitor. Staff members at Spectrum have been stationed at every entrance and are screening to make sure visitors are healthy. Those who are cleared get a sticker to show they are a healthy visitor.

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Online:

Details on flu shots at the Kent County Health Department

The Michigan Department of Community Health on the flu

The Centers for Disease Control on the flu

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