TRAVERSE CITY — Spikes in COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates prompted Munson Healthcare to further scale back services and clinic hours to focus on pandemic patients.
Christine Nefcy, Munson Healthcare’s chief medical officer, said the hospital system has entered the “red” phase of the pandemic response plan, both due to COVID-19, the number of other patients and staffing limitations.
“Clearly we didn’t make that decision lightly, it’s the first time in Munson Healthcare history that we’ve made that decision,” she said. “Obviously, this is also the first pandemic we’ve all faced in 100 years.”
She pointed to testing positivity rates of 22.2 percent as of Sunday and the number of clinical COVID-19 patients reaching 99 in the Munson network as of midnight Monday, including 56 at Munson Medical Center. Seven-day averages for test positivity rates of 17.9 percent are higher than during COVID-19 outbreaks in spring 2021 and fall 2020.
Twenty percent or more of those cases are in children, Nefcy said.
Across Munson’s network, 24 patients died between Oct. 26 and Tuesday, bringing the total to 353, Nefcy said.
The hospital network has already taken steps to cut back on services where possible, and will further reduce services such as elective procedures so that staff can be redirected to prioritize COVID-19 care, Nefcy said. The opening hours of clinics and laboratories can also be reduced.
The current visiting policy will not change, Nefcy said.
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