The chief medical officers for 110 of Michigan’s 137 hospitals issued an extraordinary joint statement today warning that the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has surged 80 percent in recent weeks and that dire consequences will result if the trend continues.

“This concerning jump puts our entire health care system at risk of another capacity crisis,” the joint statement says. “If the trend continues, doctors and nurses, therapists and custodians, food services and support staff, who have barely begun to recover from the terrible stress of the initial COVID-19 surge will suffer additional stress and risk their own infection, illness and mortality. If Michigan doesn’t change its approach to this disease, we could have crowded hospital emergency departments and approach exceeding the capacity of our hospitals as we did in southeast Michigan this past spring.”

The group of chief medical officers urged the public to wear masks, stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowds and wash their hands frequently.

On October 2, as new COVID-19 cases were rising in Michigan, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Governor Gretchen Whitmer lacked the authority to keep Michigan under a state of emergency without legislative approval. That nullified the many executive orders she had issued on gatherings, mask-wearing, capacity restrictions and more. Her administration has since tried to reassemble those restrictions through a combination of departmental orders and emergency rules.

“We want to make it clear that regardless of state law, executive orders, or local public health directives, hospitals and health care systems across the state are standing as a united front in our policies and interventions in order to fight the spread of COVID-19. It is imperative that every Michigan resident join us in taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of this deadly disease,” the chief medical officers said. “The decision to continue these safety measures is driven by data and guidance from health care experts, not politics. Public health draws on data to chart the route from where we are now, to where we need to go. It keeps hospitals and health care facilities safe places for patients to receive both routine and emergency care as needed. These measures also will prevent another catastrophic surge in hospital admissions and COVID-19 deaths, but we need your help and compliance.”

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