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Mercy Health Muskegon, Metro Health delay elective procedures as COVID cases surge PHOTO: MARK SANCHEZ

Mercy Health Muskegon, Metro Health delay elective procedures as COVID cases surge

BY Wednesday, November 11, 2020 11:07am

MUSKEGON — Mercy Health Muskegon has begun to delay elective surgeries as needed and is weighing whether to open additional emergency beds as COVID-19 cases surge.

The 267-bed Mercy Muskegon hospital made the move after exceeding 120 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, which is quadruple the number from the pandemic’s spring peak.

“Mercy Health Muskegon is examining inpatient surgical cases daily. Due to the surge in COVID cases in our community, we are deferring elective inpatient surgical cases for the next few days. We continue to perform medically necessary urgent or emergent surgical cases and expect to resume all scheduled surgeries soon,” Mercy Health Muskegon said in a statement. “The communities we serve are seeing a significant increase in COVID-19, including in our more rural areas. Most often, these cases are due to the community spread of social interactions when people were closer than six feet and masks were not worn. To keep our own patients and employees safe, our hospitals and health care facilities continue requiring staff, patients and visitors to follow public safety protocols, including mask-wearing, screenings upon entry to our facilities, and limitation of visitors.”

The procedure deferrals do not affect Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids.

Metro Health-University of Michigan Health as well has delayed some surgeries that involve an inpatient stay.

“At this time, we are aiming to continue as many surgical procedures for which the patient can be discharged home that same day. We are postponing procedures that require an overnight admission, if they are not emergent. We will continue to evaluate surgical cases on a daily basis based on our hospital census,” Metro Health said in a statement to MiBiz.

The 208-bed Metro Health Hospital today had 40 patients who were positive for COVID-19 and was 86 percent occupied.

As COVID-19 cases rise in Muskegon, Mercy Health may begin to use space available at the Hackley Hospital campus in Muskegon. Mercy Health recently completed the transition and consolidation of inpatient care in Muskegon to the Mercy hospital campus on Sherman Boulevard.

Mercy Health Muskegon is also re-deploying available clinical staff to support care for non-COVID patients, and is working with parent corporation Trinity Health to bring in the additional clinical staff.

“As COVID numbers continue to increase, we are examining all options for the care of our patients, including the use of the Hackley Campus. Mercy Health Muskegon is working with all West Michigan health systems and the State to decide if it is feasible to utilize Hackley Campus as a COVID care site,” the health system said. “As with every health system in the area, staffing is challenged right now as we care for an increasing number of COVID and non-COVID patients. We are bringing in nurses from across Mercy Health and St. Joe’s hospitals (in Southeast Michigan). We’re also working with our national system, Trinity Health, to recruit out of state nurses through its First Choice and visiting nurse programs.”

COVID-19 cases have been rising statewide, leading hospitals to re-impose visitor restrictions and consider whether to delay elective procedures, as were required under state executive order back in the spring.

On Tuesday, the state reported a record 6,473 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and another 84 deaths. Since the pandemic began in the spring, Michigan has had 223,277 confirmed cases and 7,724 deaths from COVID-19.

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