Bronson hospitals raise surge status

Courtesy Bronson Methodist Hospital

Bronson hospitals are near the breaking point as COVID-19 hospitalization cases rise in across Michigan.

Bronson Healthcare said COVID hospitalizations have jumped to levels last seen at the height of the pandemic in November 2020, causing the organization to elevate its surge status from yellow to orange at Bronson Methodist, Bronson Battle Creek and Bronson LakeView hospitals.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is an event that continues to affect and reshape health care. From strains on staffing to unprecedented changes to long-established supply chains, we have to continuously readjust to our current circumstances,” said Denise Neely, senior vice president and COO Bronson Methodist Hospital and chief nursing officer at Bronson Healthcare. “Moving to a level orange response is the latest in our efforts to address this pandemic head on.”

Orange status means each hospital is consistently at capacity with limited resources — including staff and supplies — and pandemic-related and urgent/emergent care becomes priority, potentially delaying non-urgent care cases. Additionally, nurses now are assigned to care for more patients than Bronson’s normal standard, patient documentation requirements for bedside staff are reduced, and visitation policies are subject to change as needed.

Hours and services for outpatient clinics and practices currently remain unchanged but may be reduced if staff is needed elsewhere.

Emergency departments will remain open 24/7.

“We are currently seeing increasing admissions with unvaccinated, younger and normally healthy patients needing care for COVID-19 alongside older individuals with preexisting conditions who are experiencing breakthrough infection,” Neely said. “Combine that increase with individuals seeking care for non-COVID-related health issues, and we find ourselves with a health care system that is increasingly under pressure. Moreover, it’s not just Bronson. We’re seeing this strain on hospital capacity across our region, the state and the nation.”

Bronson said the community can help relieve some pressure by getting vaccinated and remaining vigilant about safety measures to help slow the spread of COVID, including social distancing.

“The only way to truly get back to normal health care operations is for more people to get immunized (and) practice the established precautions with masking and social distancing to slow this pandemic,” Neely said. “As a community, we have to want to defeat the virus and take responsible action to do so.”

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