Beaumont Health sets up triage units outside some hospitals to manage COVID-19 surge

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Detroit Free Press 15 April, 2021 - 04:13pm 41 views

More than 800 COVID-19 patients fill Beaumont Health's hospitals, forcing the health care system to use triage units to manage emergency room stress.

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Beaumont doctor Glen Clark talks about the outside Covid tent at Grosse Pointe location. Detroit Free Press

Michigan's third COVID-19 surge is "like a runaway train," Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont Health’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology, said Thursday. 

More than 800 coronavirus patients fill all eight of the hospitals in the state's largest health care system, "taxing our staff and our resources," Gilpin said, yet there's no policy in place this time to restrict in-person dining, sports or schools, where the virus is known to spread.  

 It has left Beaumont in a place where it is beginning to put up modular triage units and tents outside some of its hospitals to manage the stress on its emergency rooms. Curbside triage units already are in use at its Grosse Pointe and Troy hospitals. A tent is up outside the Dearborn hospital, said Mark Geary, a spokesperson for the health system.

The health system also is postponing some non-urgent surgeries and procedures that would require at least an overnight stay, such as knee replacements or knee reconstruction surgeries, on a case-by-case basis, Gilpin said. Cancer surgeries and other urgent medical services, he noted, are continuing.

With all of its hospitals at 90% to 95% capacity, Beaumont can't take much more, he said.

"If we continue to see COVID numbers rise, we'll have to make some accommodations, open up some additional beds," he said. "The challenge here ... is where are we going to get the staff from? We can manufacture beds. We can open up beds. We can create entire wings of the hospital if we have to, but if we don't have staff for those beds, we've got nothing."

The hospital system has brought in nurses from supplemental staffing agencies, redeployed workers to more crucial areas and called retirees back in to work. Some nurses and other staff members are also picking up extra shifts, said Susan Grant, Beaumont Health's chief nursing officer. But it is reaching a point where that won't be enough.  

"After having done this for over a year now, our nurses, our doctors, respiratory therapists, our teams, they're tired, and they're worn," Grant said. "They're not only physically tired, and they're emotionally tired. ... They want this to go away.

"They have seen a lot of death over the last year, and now they are experiencing and seeing younger people who are in our ICU (intensive care unit) beds who are very, very sick, ... and some who are dying."

It's a situation unfolding at hospitals around the state as the seven-day average coronavirus case rate in Michigan continues to lead the nation at 551.6 cases per 100,000 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Since the pandemic began, 770,822 Michiganders have contracted the virus and 16,731 have died, according to the state health department

More than 4,000 Michiganders with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were hospitalized Thursday, according to state data. Of them, 838 were in intensive care units. That's more than a 460% rise in hospitalizations compared with Feb. 25, when 709 coronavirus patients were hospitalized and 175 were in intensive care units.

At Henry Ford Health System, five of its hospitals are 90% capacity or higher, said Bob Riney, COO and president of health care operations. The health system is caring for more than 550 coronavirus patients. 

"Staffing continues to be our biggest worry," he said. "We continue to redeploy those working in nonclinical areas to support the clinical areas. Our workers are exhausted."

They also are not only working in hospital COVID-19 units, but are working at vaccination clinics and at infusion centers, where efforts are underway to expand monoclonal antibody treatments. They're also meeting the other medical needs of people in the region, too. 

Still, both Riney and Gilpin encouraged people to go to their local hospitals if they need urgent help, and said it's vital that people don't avoid the emergency room because they are worried about COVID-19.

"Do not delay coming to the hospital or clinic to get the health care you need," Riney said. "Our emergency rooms have processes to ensure that you are kept safe, and to take good care of you. If you delay care, you will complicate your own medical condition, and you will complicate the resources required from the health care community."

Henry Ford's research and analytical models suggest that this third wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations will last about two more weeks, Riney said. 

"Then we will begin to see a plateau," he said. 

Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford's chief clinical officer, said the projections are based on the reproduction rate of the virus in southeastern Michigan, along with the test positivity rate, and how many days COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. 

"There are a number of things that our analytics leaders and our public health experts sit down together and look at," he said, to make these predictions.

People aren't being hospitalized for as long in this surge, compared with the spring 2020 COVID-19 wave, and they also aren't requiring as much intensive care, Riney said. 

That could be because the average age of coronavirus patients is younger now than in previous surges, and treatments are available now that weren't known then, he said. 

Michiganders, Riney and Gilpin agreed, must step up now to get vaccinated. To wear masks. To stay home when they're sick and get tested. To avoid gatherings and practice social distancing.

But it also may be time, Gilpin said, to consider more restrictive measures.

"I do agree with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that it is going to be difficult to vaccinate our way out of this," he said.

With a little more than 25% of the state's adult population fully vaccinated, "that's a far cry from where we need to be to get those herd immunity numbers that will really bring this under control," Gilpin said. 

It will take about five to six weeks for people who get Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines now to be fully protected. And injections of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which offers protection within two weeks of vaccination, are temporarily paused while federal regulators conduct a safety review.

"Six weeks is a long time, and especially when you're in the middle of a surging pandemic," Gilpin said. "That is, frankly, too long to wait for some of us that are working in these hospitals. 

"So I applaud the efforts to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. I think that's important. But if you also look back at our prior surges, what was the difference?

"The difference in the first surge was that there were restrictions in the community to limit gathering sizes and limit indoor activities that we know are very effective ways to transmit coronavirus. We saw it in March, in April of last year. We saw it in the fall and winter months in Michigan, and both of those surges, I believe, were curbed in part because of active restrictions.

"I do think that we have to have some level of commitment to restrict some of those activities in the community now."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has urged Michiganders to voluntarily avoid indoor dining, and suggested that schools should take a two-week pause from face-to-face high school classes after spring break. She also asked youth athletic teams to pause for two weeks. 

But it's not enough, Gilpin said. 

"The people who were going to do the right things are already doing the right things, and the people who are not doing the right things will not do the right things," he said. "I think some of that is preaching to the choir, unfortunately. And in a time like this right now in southeast Michigan and in Michigan at large, I do think we have to be a little bit more prescriptive, frankly."

He also acknowledged that Whitmer is in a difficult place. 

"She has a very incredibly difficult job right now to manage the sort of radioactive political environment that we're all existing in right now," Gilpin said. "I'm gonna leave that those decisions to the governor. I've made it clear what I think is going to help ... this current surge that we're in and help us get to the other side.

© 2021 www.freep.com. All rights reserved.

Read full article at Detroit Free Press

Beaumont Health officials say hospitals have hit 'critical capacity levels' amid COVID surge

WXYZ 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

(WXYZ) — Beaumont Health officials are sounding the alarm Thursday morning, pleading with the public to follow COVID safety guidelines and get vaccinated as their hospitals and staff have hit "critical capacity levels."

“Our COVID-19 numbers are climbing higher and faster and it’s very troubling and alarming to see this,” said Beaumont Health CEO John Fox in a press release. “We are grateful for the knowledge attained from the first two surges. It has helped save many lives. We also now have effective vaccines. To flatten the curve again, we all need to work together now: wear masks, wash hands, avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and get vaccinated. We cannot do this alone. We need everyone’s help immediately.”

At a press conference Wednesday with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun also mentioned the surge Michigan hospitals are facing.

According to the Beaumont Health, the number of COVID-19 patients have jumped at Beaumont from 128 on Feb. 28 to more than 800 patients currently. They note they have exceeded the volume from last fall.

“The new COVID-19 variants are more contagious. The patients we are seeing are younger and some are sicker and in need of intense medical attention,” Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont’s medical director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, said in a release.

Dr. Gilpin also noted that younger patients seem to be waiting longer to get care, and arriving at the hospital with "intense illness."

The health system says that all of Beaumont's hospitals are open to all patients needing health care. That includes emergency visits, testing and surgery.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.

Some Beaumont hospitals setting up outdoor triage centers amid COVID-19 surge

WXYZ 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

(WXYZ) — Some hospitals in the Beaumont Health System have set up or are considering setting up outdoor triage centers to help with the surge in COVID-19 patients Michigan is seeing right now.

Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont Health’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology, said that at the hospital he works at in Grosse Pointe, they have already set up an outdoor curbside triage center to help intake patients and balance the load in the emergency centers.

Beaumont Health Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant said that hospitals in Dearborn and Farmington Hills were having discussions and considering doing that, but wasn't sure if the hospitals had actually set them up.

Following up later in the day, Beaumont Health officials confirm a triage location has been set up outside Beaumont Grosse Point Hospital. They also say a HAZMAT tent is being used outside Beaumont Dearborn Hospital to expand the waiting area. No other locations are affected at this time.

According to the health system, there are over 800 patients with COVID-19 throughout its eight hospitals, and it's taxing their staff and resources.

"It's just like a runaway train right now," Gilpin said at the start of a Thursday press conference.

Those patients, Gilpin said, are also skewing younger. In the fall, the average age of the patients hospitalized was in mid 60s. As of today, the average age is down to the low 50s.

Gilpin also said that the hospital is looking at elective surgeries on a case-by-case basis to possibly cancel them.

They are not canceling necessary surgical procedures, like if someone has to have a cancerous tumor removed, but elective, non-necessary procedures could be postponed.

Gilpin gave the example of a knee reconstruction or replacement that may require a couple of days in the hospital after surgery.

"If our hospital capacity is such where putting someone in the hospital for a couple of days after surgery would challenge our staff, we would rather postpone than proceed," he said.

According to Grant, the hospital staff is working extra, and they are also looking across the health system for supplemental staffing, like they did in spring 2020, to see if they can move them elsewhere to help fight the COVID-19 surge.

"It's literally all hands on deck," Grant said.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.

Tlaib speaks on COVID-19 and other issues in 7 UpFront

WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7 15 April, 2021 - 11:00pm

'Patients lining our hallways': 24 Michigan hospitals at 90%+ capacity amid COVID-19 surge

Becker's Hospital Review 15 April, 2021 - 11:00pm

Twenty-four hospitals in Michigan hit 90 percent patient capacity or higher April 14, Joneigh Khaldun, MD, emergency physician and chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, told ABC affiliate WJRT

COVID-19 patients occupied almost 18 percent of all inpatient hospital beds statewide April 14. Across Michigan, 4,187 patients were hospitalized with confirmed or probable COVID-19 April 14, down 18 from the day prior.  

"Patients are again lining our hallways like they were last spring," said Dr. Khaldun. "We need to be using every tool in our toolbox, right now to get these cases and hospitalizations down."

Dearborn, Mich.-based Beaumont Health's Metro Detroit hospitals and staff have hit critical capacity levels, officials told NBC affiliate WDIV-TV April 15. Beaumont hospitals are currently treating more than 800 COVID-19 patients, exceeding the volume of patients seen during the state's fall virus surge. The health system has reinstated visitor restrictions, with no visitors allowed for COVID-19 patients. 

Michigan currently has a weekly case rate of 515.8 per 100,000 people — the worst in the nation, according to the CDC. Experts attribute much of the surge to high levels of variant strains of virus in the state and increasing spread among younger unvaccinated people.

Covid-19 surge in Michigan is putting some hospitals at critical capacity levels, health care provider says

CNN 15 April, 2021 - 11:00pm

Updated 8:25 PM ET, Thu April 15, 2021

CNN's Laura Ly, Miguel Marquez, Naomi Thomas, Anjali Huynh, Taylor Romine, Deidre McPhillips, Jen Christensen, Lauren Mascarenhas, Jacqueline Howard and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.

Michigan adds 6,303 positive COVID-19 cases; Beaumont sets up curbside triage

Crain's Detroit Business 15 April, 2021 - 11:00pm

The deaths include 81 deaths identified during a Vital Records review.

Over the past month, Michigan hospitals have been admitting thousands of COVID-19 patients who now account for 18 percent of hospital beds, or 4,159 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases. Since Monday, hospitals have added 241 COVID-19 patients.

At eight-hospital Beaumont Health, the number of COVID-19 patients has increased to more than 800 from 128 on Feb. 28 and 500 more over the last two weeks, exceeding the daily count from last fall. Last April, when the first surge was hitting Southeast Michigan, Beaumont treated the most of any one system, more than 1,200 patients at one time.

Because of the pace of the COVID-19 surge in metro Detroit, Beaumont started setting up outdoor patient triage stations in front of its Grosse Pointe hospital emergency department. Beaumont hospitals in Farmington Hills and Dearborn are also considering triage stations, officials said.

"Some of our hospitals have gone back to establishing a curbside triage center for some of the intake of these patients as they come to our emergency centers," said Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont's medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology in a Zoom press conference earlier Thursday. "That's just to help sort of balance the load in our emergency centers."

Beaumont Health Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant described how hospital staff have been affected by the "hundreds and hundreds of (patients) coming through our emergency rooms being admitted to our hospitals and our intensive care units."

Grant said she has been proud and inspired by the nursing and medical team at Beaumont.

"Our nurses, our doctors, respiratory therapists, our teams, are tired, and they're worn," Grant said. "They're not only physically tired and worn, they're emotionally tired and worn."

She said emotional exhaustion has come from being present and observing the toll coronavirus has taken on patients on families.

"They have seen a lot of deaths over the last year," Grant said. "And now they are experiencing and seeing younger people who are in our ICU beds who are very, very sick (and) who are in the emergency rooms and in our hospital beds, some of whom are dying."

Gilpin said he has treated a number of very young patients who had no significant medical issues other than COVID-19.

"Many of them are suffering consequences well into their illness, upwards of 10 or 12 weeks," a condition commonly called "long-haulers," said Gilpin, adding that he has become concerned some young people are thinking it would be better to get the COVID-19 than the vaccine.

"That is just completely the wrong way to go about this," he said. "I really think we need to have those conversations with those people around us and really encourage people to get vaccinated because the vaccine absolutely does work."

Earlier this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Michigan has surpassed giving out 5.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and has more than 25 percent of the state's population vaccinated.

Beaumont CEO John Fox asked Michiganders to take immediate steps to help stop the spread of the virus to protect themselves and health care workers.

"Our COVID-19 numbers are climbing higher and faster and it's very troubling and alarming to see this," said Fox in a statement. "We are grateful for the knowledge attained from the first two surges. It has helped save many lives. We also now have effective vaccines. To flatten the curve again, we all need to work together now: Wear masks, wash hands, avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and get vaccinated. We cannot do this alone. We need everyone's help immediately."

Respondong to a reporter's question, Gilpin said he agreed with the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who suggested Michigan should impose emergency business restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

"I want to say that I do agree with the CDC director that it is going to be difficult to vaccinate our way out of this," Gilpin said. "About 25 percent of our population is fully vaccinated. That's a far cry from where we need to be to get those herd immunity numbers that will really bring this under control."

Over the past month, Whitmer has been advocating for citizens' personal responsibility to wear masks, social distance and make an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine as an alternative to orders she or her health department issued last year as part of an comprehensive effort to contain the virus.

Gilpin said he supports people who want to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

"I think that's important. But if you also look back at our prior surges, what was the difference?" he asked. "The difference in the first surge that we experienced was that there was there were restrictions in the community to limit gathering sizes, and limit indoor activities that we know are very effective ways to transmit coronavirus."

From a physician's perspective, Gilpin said he believes the state should increase business restrictions, at least temporarily, until vaccination rates reach higher penetration levels in the community.

"I'm also aware that the governor has made a very strong statement that she are a strong recommendation that people take it upon themselves to restrict themselves," he said.

"I think that the people who were going to do the right things are already doing the right things. People who are not doing the right things will not do the right things. And so I think some of that is preaching to the choir, unfortunately. And in a time like this right now in Southeast Michigan and Michigan at large, I do think we have to be a little bit more prescriptive."

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COVID-19 case surge expected for two more weeks, medical systems adjusting

WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7 15 April, 2021 - 11:00pm

Local hospitals ready for more patients as COVID-19 surge continues

WOODTV.com 15 April, 2021 - 05:37pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan health systems say they are preparing for the already growing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to surge even further.

The state of Michigan is leading the nation in coronavirus cases. While the surge is happening everywhere, a map included in a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services briefing this week shows the majority of cases are in the Detroit area and nearby Southeast Michigan.

Hospitals in West Michigan say they are expanding their intensive care units, preparing for the possibility that the trend could travel west. 

“I am a little worried that we might follow suit with (Detroit). The east side’s spring break was about a week earlier than ours on average,” Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, the president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, said Thursday.

Spectrum hospitals are now treating more than 270 patients for COVID-19 — 100 more than just two weeks ago but still lower during the fall surge peak. The hospital is seeing its highest test positivity rates in people under the age of 18.

“We are really seeing a lot of sick people with COVID — a lot of sick, young, otherwise healthy people,” Elmouchi said. “The public, as much as they can, just needs to understand this is not a fake disease.”

Mercy Health says it recorded a positivity rate of about 23% this past week. Public health officials say a rate around 3% indicates community spread is controlled.

As of Thursday afternoon, it was treating 45 patients at the Grand Rapids facility and about 40 people in Muskegon.

“It’s still cold and more and more people are getting together in group events and families are getting together because the people that were most traditionally at risk were the older people in the family and they are now protected (with a vaccine),” Mercy Health’s infectious diseases division chief Dr. Andrew Jameson said.

Both hospitals say while the spike in cases has not been followed proportionally by hospitalizations or deaths, as seen during the fall surge, they are seeing a significant uptick in both. 

“What typically happens is two to three weeks after that (positivity) rate starts going up, we start seeing hospitalizations. So I would feel pretty confident in saying there is some kind of disconnect right now and I suspect it’s because we have such a high percentage of those over 65 vaccinated,” Jameson said.

They also say they have seen a few patients in their facilities who received a vaccine. 

“It is still doing its job to prevent severity of illness, but it’s not 100%,” Jameson explained. “I really want our community not to push it.”

Health care workers say while the numbers are concerning, there is hope that this storm will soon pass. 

“Everybody is tired. I mean, the good news is they know what to do, it’s not as much of a mystery anymore, kind of like seasoned veterans,” Elmouchi said.

Both Spectrum and Mercy are encouraging people to continue getting vaccinated. Both say they have openings for appointments on Friday. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) -- The Internal Revenue Service announced that nearly 2 million "plus-up" stimulus payments went out this week as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Payments began processing on April 9 to be sent out on Wednesday, but some Americans may have seen provisional or pending deposits in their accounts earlier in the week.

FEMA said in a news release that the more than 1 million calls were too much for the agency's call centers and caused technical issues Monday. The flood of calls came in within the first 90 minutes that the hotline was open, CNN reports.

Rachel Siefken died April 5 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital following a brutal battle with COVID-19.

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New Michigan COVID spike, no new restrictions: What’s different?

WDIV ClickOnDetroit 15 April, 2021 - 04:51pm

RELATED: University of Michigan: Latest COVID surge ‘hammers ER workers’

Despite that, the state has refused to issue any new restrictions.

It was those restrictions in the first waves that were put in place to keep Michigan’s hospitals from going through what’s happening now.

April 15, 2021: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 770,822; Death toll now at 16,731

While things have changed over the course of the pandemic -- such as what we know about the virus, how it spreads and how to treat it -- there are still striking similarities between now and when the pandemic started in March 2020.

“This will be temporary,” Whitmer said on March 23, 2020. “This intervention is important to buy time so we can create surge capacity in our hospitals.”

Days later, Michigan would hit its first daily case peak of just under 2,000 cases. Seven months later, Michigan was heading into the winter holiday season and cases began a steady rise into the thousands each day.

After seasons of political fights, threats and a lack of compliance with social distancing, Whitmer cited science and national models as she called for more restrictions.

“These steps are what the public health experts say we must take to avoid overwhelming hospitals and death counts like we saw in the spring,” Whitmer said Nov. 15, 2020. “Rapid spread of this virus requires that we take aggressive action now to save lives.”

Five days later, Michigan would have its highest daily case count of the pandemic with 9,779 cases.

Michigan’s late 2020 three-week pause was widely praised and has been credited with saving lives.

As the state creeps toward that record count again, Whitmer has changed course. State officials have opted instead to lean on vaccination, therapeutic treatments and calling for more personal responsibilities.

“Instead of mandating that we’re closing things down, we are encouraging people to do what we know works as the most important thing that we can do,” Whitmer said Tuesday. “It’s not the policy problem, it is a variant and compliance problem.”

Health experts don’t agree. The heads of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both said Michigan will not be able to vaccinate its way out of the latest spike.

“Close things down to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer and to shut things down.” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Hospitals are warning that personal responsibility may not be enough.

“I think that the people who were going to do the right things are already doing the right things and the people who are not doing the right thing, will not be doing the right things,” said Beaumont Health CEO John Fox. ”I think some of that is preaching to the choir, unfortunately.”

The personal responsibility measures Whitmer is asking Michiganders to double down on do work. Social distancing, mask wearing, washing our hands and getting vaccinated are proven to help slow the spread. Whether people will listen this time will remain to be seen.

Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

'It was like a war zone': Michigan hospitals near capacity levels as COVID-19 cases spike

FOX 2 Detroit 15 April, 2021 - 04:33pm

Hospitals in Metro Detroit are seeing more COVID-19 patients being admitted.

John English was admitted to Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn a week ago.

The 55-year-old was sick with COVID-19. He is one of more than 800 COVID-19 patients to recently be admitted to Beaumont's eight hospitals.

"When I got here, it was like a war zone," English said. "I couldn't believe the amount of people that were everywhere and needed help."

Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont’s medical director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, said that the plan is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. However, he noted that restrictions are necessary to control Michigan's surge.

"If you look back at our prior surges, what was the difference in the first surge we experienced was that there were restrictions to limit gathering sizes and indoor activities," he said.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said that she doesn't plan to put more restrictions in place. Instead, she is pushing for people to get vaccinated.

In the meantime, Beaumont is setting up triages outside to make room for the influx of COVID patients.

"Try to follow all the protocols because its not the place you want to be. They are overrun, all the hospitals," English said.

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