State of Michigan secures additional federal team to assist Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 7, 2022
CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. - Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that the federal government has granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's request for additional staffing assistance at a fifth Michigan hospital, Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte. Under the agreement, a civilian Disaster Medical Assistance Team is being sent to support Henry Ford's doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 and other patients.

"Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital desperately needs support and resources to provide the critical care that our neighbors deserve. I've heard from members of the community and providers on a daily basis about a system strained to a breaking point, and now they will get the help they need," said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12). "These additional health care personnel will help address the rise in COVID-19 cases in Michigan and ensure residents have access to quality, affordable care, I appreciate the Biden Administration's continued assistance and will work closely with federal, state and local partners to ensure that our state's front line health care workers and providers receive the support they need."

"I am grateful to our federal partners for providing critical resources and relief to Michigan's hospitals and health care professionals as we face down the Omicron surge together," said Governor Whitmer. "We have been facing this deadly virus for nearly two years and our health care workers have been working tirelessly on the frontlines through it all. Every Michigander can take action right now to protect themselves and their loved ones, and help our hospitals and health care workers do their jobs. I urge Michiganders to get their safe, effective vaccine, their booster shot, and take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including testing and masking. We have the tools and I am confident that we can get this done."

"As the Omicron variant is quickly spreading and case rates and hospitalizations in our state are accelerating, I am grateful to our federal partners for continuing to provide much-needed relief to Michigan's hospitals and health care personnel," said Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director. "The pandemic continues to take a tremendous toll on our health care workers and we are pleading with all Michiganders to do their part to support our state's health care workers by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, social distancing and staying home and getting tested regularly."

The 30-member team will include advanced practice physicians, ED and ICU nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, and logistics and supply chain personnel. The team will begin treating patients Monday, Jan. 10 and provide support for the next 14 days. Four Department of Defense teams have already been deployed to Michigan and are providing support at Beaumont Hospital - Dearborn, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw and Mercy Health Muskegon.

"We are grateful to the federal government and State of Michigan for bringing this much needed support and relief to our team at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital," said Bob Riney, President of Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer at Henry Ford Health System. "The resiliency and determination of our team members throughout the pandemic have been awe-inspiring. But our team members are battle wearied and drained emotionally, mentally and physically. This support couldn't have come at a better time for us, as well as the Downriver communities we serve."

Michiganders are being asked to carefully consider where they seek health care. A primary care office, virtual visit or urgent care may be the best choice as hospital and emergency departments are experiencing high demand. However, for emergency conditions such as stroke symptoms, chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant injury or uncontrolled bleeding, Michiganders should still seek emergency care.

The federal staffing teams come as Michigan hospitals strain due to a spike in COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. In October, unvaccinated people had 4.3 times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 and 13.2 times the risk of dying from COVID-19 than people who were fully vaccinated.

From Jan. 3 - Dec. 15, 2021, people who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated represented: 85.1% of COVID-19 cases, 88.1% of hospitalizations and 85.5% of deaths.

As of Jan. 7, more than 4,500 Michiganders are hospitalized for COVID-19.

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