Detroit area hospitals confident in handling surge of COVID-19 as hospitalizations soar

As COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket, hospitalization rates are starting climb but some Detroit area leaders say they're more confident about handling this second wave of infections.

Last week, Beaumont, Henry Ford, and Detroit Medical Center all restricted visitor access as the daily cases set records.

While they're restricting visitor access, DMC's ER Chief at Sinai Grace, Dr. Daniel Taylor, said he's cautiously more confident today than he was in the spring.

"During the first surge we were trying to build the airplane as we were trying to fly it the airplane is built now," Taylor said. "We have a lot more to offer the patients as they come in, as compared to when we experienced our first surge."

Taylor says they have a treatment plan that includes oxygen therapy given to patients sooner. That, plus steroids earlier in the illness and IV dosing of Remdesivir, has proven to have some amounts of success.

Right now, Taylor says they're seeing a steady increase of COVID-19 patients overall but minimal cases in intensive care.

"Anecdotally, it does feel that patients are not as sick. Although they’re sick, you can still be sick and not be put on a ventilator," Taylor said

That sentiment is similar to one at Beaumont's hospitals. Chief of Clinical Services, Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund, says there are still unknowns in terms of spread.

"I’m not going to say patients are less sick but it seems like we have less patients proportionately in the Intensive Care Units and we are able to manage them without putting them on ventilators, percentage-wise, than putting them on ventilators like last time," Fischgrund said. "I think we can feel confident but there is always this voice in the back of your head saying what us different than last time. We're all a little bit afraid the numbers could be larger." 

While visitation is limited, they don't want to deter non-COVID patients from getting medical care.

"If you’re scheduled to get your mammogram, if you’re scheduled for a colonoscopy, you still should get that done," Fischgund said.

He said they've been on the frontlines since March and have learned a lot along the way and say they're bett prepared today than in March and April.

"It’s not that we want to say we are good at it but I think we have been doing this for enough months we know how to do it right and safe," Fischgund said.

Henry Ford Health System put out some hard numbers on Monday. Across their six hospitals, they have 327 patients admitted with COVID-19. In the last 30 days, of the COVID tests they’ve done, about 14 percent have come back positive.