U-M Medicine leaders caution to stay vigilant with COVID-19 precautions as hospital cases surge

Michigan Medicine leaders made a desperate plea Thursday as COVID-19 cases surge across the country - and here at home.

“All of us have a major responsibility, to do everything conceivably possible, to slow infection. We need your help. We need all of your help," said Marschall Runge, M.D./CEO of Michigan Medicine.

Runge, who is also the dean of the university’s medical school, said over the last three weeks - the hospital has seen an “alarming increase” in COVID-19 patients. The hospital previously averaged only about 10 per day.

“Today we started the day with over 75 COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Now Michigan medicine has joined more than 100 healthcare systems across the country, urging all Americans to #maskup to slow the spread.

“This is not an easy message. We’re all fatigued. We’re all stressed. But this is exactly the wrong time to let up.” he said.

Runge says a recent study across 38 Michigan hospitals shows within two months of leaving the hospital, nearly seven percent of COVID patients died.

“Despite what you may have heard about COVID-19 being no big deal, that is simply not correct. This is a deadly disease.” 

The hospital is now strained at 90 percent capacity due to regular care resuming. 

Runge says positive COVID cases are now at 14 percent. In the summer they were below five percent.

“Progress is being made with vaccines and this is great news," said Laraine Washer, M.D./Dir. of infection Prevention & Epidemiology at Michigan Medicine. "But even if a vaccine is approved for use before the year end, it will take months for it to be available to everyone even under the best of circumstances.”
And with the holidays quickly approaching - these doctors hope everyone will do their part. 

"Please, please don’t let your guard down now,” Runge said.