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Doctors fear 4th surge of COVID-19 cases could be a tipping point for MI health systems

Posted at 5:36 AM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 05:56:59-04

(WXYZ) — As we head into the fall and winter, there are concerns over what would be the fourth surge in COVID-19 infections.

Every county in Michigan is reporting high community transmission. It's a statewide crisis and emergency rooms are already feeling the impact.

In Oakland County, nearly 75% of residents ages 16 and up have had at least one dose of a vaccine, but more than 250,000 people still haven't gotten it.

We're heading into some big holidays, and doctors have little faith that these unvaccinated people will be wearing masks at family gatherings, meaning infections could be running wild and cause trouble for area hospitals.

When Shanice Williamson was hurt back in June, she didn't think twice about going to the ER. After one hour, her mind started racing.

"I hope I don't bleed to death. Seriously because I was in there for a long time," she said.

Earlier this month, Beaumont Health reported that all of their ERs were near capacity.

As the holiday season approaches, doctors fear a fourth surge could bring the system to a tipping point.

"I'll tell you what I am concerned about. Cooler weather, people moving indoors, a significant unvaccinated portion of the population," Dr. Nick Gilpin, the director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Beaumont, said. "I think it would be foolish to not prepare for another wave."

On Wednesday, the state reported 6,733 new COVID-19 cases and 100 additional deaths.

"Most of the patients we are seeing in our hospitals right now with COVID-19 are unvaccinated patients," Gilpin said.

Beaumont and other hospital systems throughout the state are short-staffed.

On top of pushing vaccinations, they are asking people with non-life-threatening issues like a cold, some broken bones and more to try an urgent care or their primary physician.

Doctors say if you're having a stroke, chest pains, concussions or excessive bleeding, please go to the ER.

Healthcare providers say they are working around the clock to make sure the community is taken care of.

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