Hospitals want Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to extend restrictions that are set to expire tomorrow night extended through the holiday season.
The three-week “pause” from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has been working and is “slowly stabilizing the spread of COVID-19 and leading to stabilized hospitalizations,” according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
“To see meaningful change that truly alleviates stress on the healthcare system, we urge the state to extend protections through the holiday season,” the MHA said today in a statement. “We still don’t know what impact Thanksgiving will have, but we do know that with the recent pause, we’re seeing some slight improvements. As a state, we must not let our guard down and reverse this progress.”
The state put the restrictions in effect as COVID-19 cases surged in Michigan and pushed some hospitals to capacity. The restrictions, which expire late Tuesday night unless extended, closed indoor dining at bars and restaurants and include limited capacity at retail stores.
Hospitals still “face critical healthcare worker staffing shortages and troubling bed capacity numbers,” according to the MHA statement.
“Our teams on the front lines are exhausted as this second surge continues; we never truly recovered from the first. Now, data is indicating slight declines in COVID-19 emergency department visits, daily admissions and total hospitalizations. As physicians, we’re telling you: these measures are working,” the MHA said. “Those of us working in hospitals are members of your community. We are your neighbors and friends. We have families and holiday traditions of our own that we’re missing, too. With vaccines now in sight, nobody wants to see the progress of the last three weeks go to waste.”
Meanwhile, Michigan’s restaurant trade group has maintained opposition to the state’s order, and has so far unsuccessfully challenged it in court. A national restaurant group said today that restaurants are in an “economic free fall.” It cited a survey of 6,000 restaurant owners and 250 supply chain businesses, showing 87 percent of full service restaurants reported an average 36 percent drop in sales revenue.
“What these findings make clear is that more than 500,000 restaurants of every business type — franchise, chain, and independent— are in an economic free fall,” Sean Kennedy, National Restaurant Association executive vice president for Public Affairs, said in a statement. “And for every month that passes without a solution from Congress, thousands more restaurants will close their doors for good.”