Munson Healthcare reaches record number of COVID hospitalizations
Tue, 04/27/2021 - 12:22pm caleb
System of hospitals reports 100 COVID-19 inpatients as of Tuesday, April 20, during online press conference
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Munson Healthcare officials reported on Tuesday, April 20, during a weekly online press conference that their system of hospitals had reached a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations as cases of the virus continue to rise in the region.
“We continue to see an increase in the number of cases, and while our percent positive this week is down slightly from what it was last week our cases per 100,000 continue to increase and our hospitalizations continue to increase,” said Dr. Christine Nefcy, Munson Healthcare Chief Medical Officer.
Dr. Nefcy said Munson Healthcare had 100 COVID-19 inpatients in its hospitals on Tuesday, April 20.
“That is the highest number of (COVID-19) inpatients we’ve had since this pandemic started,” Dr. Nefcy said. “As we’ve seen the percent positivity increase in our community we have seen the number of hospitalizations for COVID positive patients follow that number. We are now seeing younger people hospitalized and that is, we think, directly correlated to the number of older members of our population that have been vaccinated.”
Munson Healthcare officials said the healthcare system continues to receive and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and it has given more than 68,000 doses. Eighty-seven-point-five of Munson Healthcare doctors have been vaccinated and close to 70 percent of Munson Healthcare employees overall have been vaccinated, according to officials.
Munson Healthcare recently announced that people can now get rapid antigen testing – results available in 15 minutes – at Munson Healthcare urgent care and walk-in clinics. Munson Healthcare representatives ask that people who are not symptomatic call ahead for a testing appointment; however, people who have COVID-19 symptoms can arrive at the clinic and get a test, they said.
“If you are asymptomatic or symptomatic for COVID-19 and you want to get a rapid antigen test you can walk into any of our (Munson Healthcare) urgent care clinics or walk-in clinics except for the Charlevoix Hospital urgent care,” Dr. Nefcy said.
Dr. Jennifer Morse, District Health Department #10 Medical Director, during Tuesday’s press conference, discussed the recent change back to 14-day quarantines for COVID-19 close contacts and some confusion with regard to the issue caused in part by incorrect notifications.
“I was asked to remind everyone through our entire area that the quarantine time has been raised back up to 14 days. That was done on April 5. There was a little bit of communication issues and confusion. Even though the state did change that recommendation on the fifth, one of their programs that many of us participate in called Traceforce, who helps with contact tracing communication with our close contacts, did not change their verbiage in their letters or their staff communication, so many of our close contacts were advised to still follow 10 days until the end of last week, so for about 10 days past the change many of us did communicate out through press releases or other ways about that error, and we really do apologize for that confusion,” said Dr. Morse said. “We know it’s already confusing enough so to add to that was really challenging and we do sincerely apologize for that.”
“If you are exposed, you need to be quarantined for 14 days and that’s 14 days after your exposure, so day one is the day after you were last exposed to someone, so if I was exposed today I would start counting tomorrow and then I’d count 14 days and I would come out of isolation the day after day 14. That is how we should be counting those days,” Dr. Morse said. “You can’t get a test and be negative to get out of quarantine. You can’t get a letter from your healthcare provider to get out of quarantine. This is really how it is and it’s because we are seeing such rapid spread and the variants are just so much more contagious. We have seen cases developing past day 10.”
Dr. Morse said there are a couple of exceptions to the close contact quarantine regulations. People diagnosed with COVID-19 (for 90 days after onset of symptoms or date of positive test) and people who are two weeks past their second dose of vaccine do not have to quarantine for being a close contact, healthcare officials said.
Dr. Morse said District Health Department #10 has administered more than 83,000 vaccines as of April 17.
District Health Department #10 continues to vaccinate people ages 16 and up through an online scheduling system at www.dhd10.org.