News Bite

Hospitals Predict Crisis, But Current 71% Occupancy Rate Not Abnormal

An association representing 110 Michigan hospitals issued a statement that said “if Michigan doesn’t change its approach” to COVID-19 “we could have crowded hospital emergency departments.”

As of Oct. 19, there were 1,050 individuals hospitalized in Michigan for COVID-19, with a statewide hospital bed occupancy rate of 71% according to a state survey.

Of the 46 hospitals surveyed, only the Hurley Medical Center in Flint was listed at 100% bed occupancy. That hospital had 18 patients with the coronavirus.

The hospital association stated: “In recent weeks, we have seen COVID-19 cases trending upwards in all regions of the state, and hospitalizations have surged by more than 80 percent. This concerning jump puts our entire healthcare system at risk of another capacity crisis. If the trend continues, doctors and nurses, therapists and custodians, food services and support staff, who have barely begun to recover from the terrible stress of the initial COVID-19 surge will suffer additional stress and risk their own infection, illness, and mortality. If Michigan doesn’t change its approach to this disease, we could have crowded hospital emergency departments and approach exceeding the capacity of our hospitals as we did in Southeast Michigan this past spring.”

As Michigan Capitol Confidential reported in August, “Field hospitals constructed in downtown Detroit and Novi to handle a potential coronavirus overflow cost $21.45 million to construct, and together treated a combined 55 COVID-19 patients before being shut down.”

According to the state of Michigan, less than 1% (0.8%) of visits to emergency rooms were due to COVID-19 symptoms as of Oct. 18. That percentage peaked at 5.2% on March 29, using a rolling seven-day average.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.