Military doctors, nurses and technicians arrive late next week at Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte to bolster a facility hard-hit by Covid admissions and staff vacancies.
"We are grateful for the medical support coming from the Department of Defense to provide further support and relief," a top administrator at Henry Ford Health System said Thursday in an online media briefing. "We have systemic challenges with the incredible volume and very tired medical practitioners and vacancies that we’re looking to fill," added Bob Riney, president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer.
The Downriver hospital, which isn't using 22 of its 360 beds because of staff shortages, was at 85% occupancy Monday. Patients included 96 with coronavirus; 17 of them were in intensive care.
Next week's federal medical team will stay at least a month and will be the second sent this year to Ford's Wyandotte branch. A civilian Disaster Medical Assistance Team arrived Monday and stays until Jan. 21.
Riney described the impact of assistance from Washington during the video press conference:
"This is what I would call a real help [because it] does add meaningful clinical capacity. But it's also a mental boost. It is a great sign of hope, of optimism, to our care teams that they're not alone. ...
"Even our care teams know it doesn’t begin to solve [all] problems, but it solves some. That is a real benefit, but it's also a producer of hope. And that's important.”
Among all five Henry Ford hospitals Thursday, 593 employees were out of work due to Covid.
"This is due to the fast-spreading Omicron in the community," Riney told journalists. "These are not work-related. The continuous spread of Covid not only puts a strain on health systems because of the number of patients that we see, but it continues to expose our frontline healthcare workers in getting community spread when they are not wearing the PPE [personal protective equipment] that they are wearing inside the healthcare organization."
Detroit schools may stay shut all month
A day after telling Detroit Board of Education members that students and teachers probably will continue online classes for another two weeks, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti confirms that likelihood Wednesday in a message to parents. Pupils haven't been in city schools yet this year.
"Districtwide online learning will continue for all students through Jan. 24 or, at the very latest, Jan. 31," he announces at the district site and on social media.
Although the city’s infection rate has improved, it is still in the mid-30s. [The city’s Covid positivity rate was 37.6% on Jan. 6.]
Our return to in person learning will include required employee Covid testing. Those plans will be shared prior to our return.
Online learning attendance has improved (near 75% now), but still needs to be higher. Please ensure that your students and children are logging into each of their classes daily.
Districts that fall below 75% average attendance longterm can lose part of their state aid.
The superintendent also reminds parents "that students must have a consent to Covid test [form] on file by Jan. 31 or they will be transferred to the district's virtual school." The testing consent rate now is 74%, according to Chalkbeat Detroit.
Vitti originally announced Jan. 4 that the year would begin with virtual learning through this week.