Unvaccinated residents filling Michigan hospitals, getting hospitalized for COVID


As Michigan continues to record high numbers of COVID-19 cases, new data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) proves that the majority of Michigan residents severely sick with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and MHA are pleading with residents to get vaccinated for their own health, the safety of Michigan’s health care personnel, and to avoid additional strain on health care systems that are already stretched and struggling to respond.

“The data is clear: if you are unvaccinated, you are risking hospitalization or death,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We have a safe and effective vaccine that is quite literally saving lives. Michigan residents absolutely need to get vaccinated to keep their loved ones safe this holiday.”

Based on recent data from most Michigan health systems, MHA has found that three out of four COVID patients are unvaccinated (76%), 87% of COVID ICU patients are unvaccinated and 88% of COVID ventilator patients are unvaccinated.

“Michigan’s health care systems are stretched beyond their limits – so much so that the U.S. Department of Defense is providing clinical staffing support to hospitals throughout the state that are operating at capacity, delaying nonemergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion,” said Brian Peters, CEO of MHA. “This data confirms what the situation in our hospitals is already telling us: get vaccinated, whether it is your first dose, vaccination for your children or a booster dose.”

Michigan’s number of hospitalized COVID-19 cases reached a new high this week, with 4,291 patients hospitalized. Recently, Michigan reached 70% of residents 16 and older who have received their first vaccine dose, but cases are surging in the unvaccinated population.

MDHHS is monitoring for the COVID-19 omicron variant which has not been detected in the state. Residents are advised that the presence of variants makes it even more important to get vaccinated, including the booster doses to increase protection, wear masks, and take other precautions.

In addition to getting vaccinated and wearing masks – particularly indoors and in crowded areas – other things people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones include:

  • Getting tested for COVID-19, especially before gatherings.
  • Physically distancing from others and avoiding crowds
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water and cleaning hands with alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Self-isolating until you recover if you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

MDHHS has issued a public health advisory that all Michiganders, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask in indoor public settings and those who are not fully vaccinated or who are immunocompromised should avoid large crowds or gatherings.

MDHHS Director Hertel Addresses MHA Legislative Policy Panel

elizabeth hertel

MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel provides a state update on the COVID-19 pandemic.The MHA Legislative Policy Panel convened March 24 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals.

The meeting was highlighted by a presentation from Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Director Elizabeth Hertel, who provided a statewide update related to the pandemic, including increasing COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations, as well as vaccine distribution. Hertel also discussed future MDHHS funding objectives and targets, which includes an increased focus on behavioral health.

Moving to action items, due to significant concerns regarding patient safety and regulatory structure, the panel recommended that the MHA oppose planned legislation that would create a Recovery Care Center license for a healthcare facility. With the new license, ambulatory surgery centers would be able to provide more invasive procedures by adding overnight rooms.

The panel also recommended that the MHA oppose House Bill 4355 as introduced, which would expand telehealth services by allowing out-of-state providers to deliver telehealth treatments to Michigan residents.

The panel received updates on issues at both the state and federal level. State level updates were provided on COVID-19 vaccination efforts, the Department of Insurance and Financial Services auto no-fault insurance fee schedule rules open comment period, state budget negotiations and House Bill 4359 that would modernize the scope of practice for certified registered nurse anesthetists. Federal updates focused on suspending the Medicare sequester and the recently enacted COVID-19 relief legislation known as the American Rescue Plan.

For more information on the MHA Legislative Policy Panel, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.