Low vaccination rates are driving Michigan's worst COVID-19 surge. Healthcare workers anticipate it will only get worse.

Low vaccination rates are driving Michigan's worst COVID-19 surge. Healthcare workers anticipate it will only get worse.
Registered Nurse Monica Quintana dons protective gear before entering a room at the William Beaumont hospital, April 21, 2021 in Royal Oak, Mich.AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
  • There were over 4,500 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 in Michigan on Friday.
  • That's the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state since the start of the pandemic.

Michigan has hit its highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic.

While vaccines have been available for a year, the majority of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, several outlets reported.

According to state data, there were over 4,500 people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 on Friday, twice the amount who were hospitalized a month ago, The Detroit Free Press.

Fox2 Detroit reported that the number of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 is the highest throughout the entire pandemic.

While cases and hospitalizations surge in the state, it still has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates. According to state data, only 56% of the residents are fully vaccinated.


Doctors at the University of Michigan Health System told Fox2 Detroit that every patient currently on a ventilator has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Vaccination is the only way out of this pandemic. The unvaccinated aren't just risking their lives and the lives of loved ones, you're risking the lives of others that may die of preventable disease who can't get their needed health care," Michigan Medicine CEO Dr. Marschall Runge told Fox2 Detroit.

Katie Sefton, a nurse at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan told CNN that she anticipates hospitalizations will get worse.

"We keep talking about how we haven't peaked yet," Sefton said.

Sefton's hospital is already at full capacity.


"We have more patients than we've ever had at any point, and we're seeing more people die at a rate we've never seen die before," Jim Dover, president and CEO of Sparrow Health System told CNN.

Dover said that since January, 75% of the 289 patients who died from COVID-19 in the hospital system were unvaccinated. Those who were vaccinated were more than six months past their initial vaccination and hadn't gotten a booster.

Health officials like Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, Natasha Bagdasarian, and Health Director Elizabeth Hertel, urged residents to get vaccinated or boosted, Detroit News reported.

"The situation in our state is critical right now," Bagdasarian said on Friday. "Cases are surging. Hospitals are full. And we have a new variant."

Detroit News reported that state health officials have requested 200 additional ventilators from the national stockpile.


Dover told CNN that the situation in the state is overwhelming healthcare systems and workers.

"Most hospitals and health systems in the state of Michigan have gone to code-red triage, which means they won't accept transfers. And as we go into the holidays, if the current growth rate that we're at today, we would expect to see 200 in-patient Covid patients by the end of the month -- on a daily basis," Dover told CNN, adding that it would be "absolutely stretching" workers to "the breaking point."

Healthcare workers are also frustrated because they didn't anticipate they would be dealing with this surge a year after vaccines were made available, CNN reported.

"I was really hoping that we'd (all) get vaccinated and things would be back to normal," Sefton told CNN.

Dover told CNN he hopes people realize how critical the situation is before they have to go to the hospital and wait days for a bed.