FRIDAY NEWS HIT - When John English was admitted into Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, he was horrified by what he saw. "When I first came in, it was like a war zone."
English is 55 and one of the more than 800 patients admitted into the hospital chain with COVID-19. He's also part of the latest surge that has thrown a pandemic-sized wrench into Michigan's health care.
"I couldn't believe the amount of people that need help, and were in the hallways and (it was overrun)," he said. English had been in the process of scheduling his vaccine appointments when he got sick. Concerns of blood clots in his lung and a lack of oxygen have bedridden him for days.
And yet, "Everyone has been great and compassionate and understanding, more than helpful with everything that’s going on," he said.
Beaumont is sounding the alarm about its coronavirus capacity. Triage centers have been set up at one of its facilities and two more are being considered in Dearborn and Farmington Hills. It's the latest escalation signaling concern that Michigan's outbreak - which is totaling some of the highest numbers during the health crisis - could push hospitals overcapacity.
Most of Beaumont's already are.
Michigan's latest outbreak is "just like a runaway train right now," said Dr. Nick Gilpin, the hospital's chief infectious disease specialist said during a virtual press conference with media on Thursday. "When you look at all those variables, I think it's a bit of a perfect storm to explain why Michigan is where they are right now."
Michigan's reopening combined with pandemic fatigue, the presence of new variables, and a lack of warmer weather pushing people outside has delivered Michigan a new kind of surge that includes hospitalizations of a younger group.
"I have had the opportunity to care for very young patients," Gilpin said. "We're so upside down in terms of our thinking it would be better to get Covid than a Covid vaccine and I think that is the completely wrong way to go about doing this."
So when can Michigan expect to see things improve? It could be a little while longer before the bad news becomes less bad.
Bob Riney, the chief operating officer at Henry Ford Health Systems, told the Associated Press yesterday that modeling shows another 2 weeks of hospitalizations are expected before things start to plateau.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has declined to implement new restrictions to slow things down, told ABC News Live Thursday night that "we're starting to see things as though they're slowing down a bit."
But Beaumont's "call to action" they put out yesterday indicated that it will require help from the entire public if the state is going to make it out of its wave.
Not just for the sake of the patients, but for the staff that is reaching its breaking point at the hospital.
"The staff are tired. They appreciate the outpouring of support from the community," said Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant. "...even more than a show of support, is they just want this to be over. We really just want the community to do everything they can do."
Amid all the unfortunate news is the continued acknowledgment that vaccines have been working. So far, more than a quarter of the state is fully vaccinated. Many of those people are elderly patients who are making up a smaller portion of the groups hospitalized with the virus.
Detroit schools will reopen May 11
Students at Detroit Public Schools will be spending more time at home than originally planned for after spring break, following several weeks of rising coronavirus infections.
The district had originally planned on having students return on April 26, just in time to take for scheduled testing to begin. However, the district superintendent and school board have pushed that date back to the May 11 meeting.
The learning centers will still reopen April 26 for ESE students and those that plan on taking standardized testing like the M-STEP or SAT. At that time, the district will also begin COVID-19 testing with saliva tests of students and staff.
Detroit, like much of the state, has seen almost unmitigated increases in its cases. Health experts suspect that the reopening of in-person learning has at least something to do with it.
Stolen van carrying mom's ashes recovered
The stolen minivan that had carried the cremains of a family's mother is now back where it belongs after a bit of careful police work from Warren law enforcement.
A family first reported their vehicle had been stolen Tuesday when they showed FOX 2 home surveillance video of thieves making off with a minivan and all the possessions inside. "It's scary and depressing," said the woman. "I hated to think where her ashes may have ended up and that being her resting place."
Then, a serendipitous discovery by Warren police on an unrelated narcotics investigation was made when one detective thought he saw the same van that had been reported on the news. "And then one of my undercover officers said hey there was something in the back of the minivan," said Sgt. Steve Showers.
Police ran the plates and it came back stolen out of Warren. Officers followed the vehicle before taking two people into custody. When they looked in the back of the van, sure enough, there were the remains. "It’s something we know how important it is to family and right away it’s something we took custody of."
Mother charged with murder after dead baby found in Lincoln Park
Autumn Chenell Tate, 28, has been charged with murder after she allegedly gave birth to a baby boy and threw him in a garbage bag and abandoned him.
Police were notified about the dead newborn in a wooded area in Lincoln Park last month after a resident found a bloody bag. It was found in the 4000 block of Fort Street. Tate has also been charged with first-degree child abuse, and abandonment of a child. She was arraigned Thursday afternoon.
Detectives originally said the baby was born just prior to being put in the bag.
It was first discovered on March 6.
DPD refute 'bogus lease' claim from family
Detroit police are pushing back on claims from a family that say they had been paying rent to someone who didn't own the property they were staying in. Instead, they were squatting in the residence.
"This is not an eviction, this is a case that we're working with a complaint of a squatter," said Det. Listine Gilbert, Detroit police. "We are working with the home owner and the occupant. We have a victim, the owner of the property, that would like possession at this time."
Activists claimed earlier this week that a family living at 9325 Littlefield for the past three and a half months were wrongfully evicted after they signed a lease and paid $800 a month for rent to someone they believed owned the property. "As far as they knew, they were renters like anyone else," said attorney Joe McGuire, Detroit Eviction Defense.
The family, whose last name is Bohanen, was told to send a lease to court to prove they legally lived there. But instead were told the lease was fraudulent and they had to get out. Detroit police are working to find housing for the family as the investigation continues.
What else we're watching
- Be wary Metro Detroit travelers, I-75 will be closed between I-696 and 8 Mile for bridge construction. All lanes will be blocked off and drivers will be diverted onto Woodward if they want to head north or south.
- Both the governor and the head of Henry Ford Health Systems are giving hints about when Michigan's third surge will begin to peak. Whitmer said it's starting to happen, while modeling from HFHS says hospitalizations will plateau in two weeks.
- Better Made, the iconic Michigan chip brand, will be honoring its former leader who died this week by tying black balloons to its vehicles at its facility as a tribute.
- Individual game tickets for Detroit Tiger games in the month of May will go on sale today. Detroit will play the Cubs, Yankees, Twins, Royals and Indians at Comerica Park next month. Ticket prices start as low as $10.
- The Pope Francis Center is getting a $7 million donation to help construct a new housing complex that will help house those that lack secure shelter. The proposed facility will have a cafeteria, a gymnasium, a library, classrooms, and a health clinic.
Live on FOX 2
The lows are going to be the 30s and 40s for the next few days, while the highs will stretch into the 50s and 60s. Today and much of the weekend will have cloudy conditions. Expect a high of 58 Friday.
Police: 8 killed in shooting at FedEx facility in Indianapolis
Eight people were shot and killed in a late-night shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, and the shooter killed himself, police said.
Several other people were injured Thursday night when gunfire erupted at the facility near the Indianapolis International Airport, police spokesperson Genae Cook said.
At least four were hospitalized, including one person with critical injuries. Another two people were treated and released at the scene, she said.
The shooter wasn’t immediately identified, and investigators were in the process of conducting interviews and gathering information. Cook said it was too early to tell whether the shooter was an employee at the facility.