COVID variant a ‘juggernaut;' federal team stays at Beaumont

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — A medical team from the U.S. Defense Department is extending its stay at Beaumont Health in southeastern Michigan, which has been overwhelmed with patients sick with COVID-19, especially people who are not vaccinated.

Beaumont, Michigan’s largest care provider, had more than 750 COVID-19 patients at eight hospitals Thursday, with 65% unvaccinated, a doctor said.

The omicron variant is “frankly a juggernaut,” said Dr. Nick Gilpin, Beaumont’s medical director of infection prevention.

“If you have ignored our pleas for help before, now is the time to take action. ... Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. Get boosted,” Gilpin said.

Michigan averaged 13,673 new daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A Defense Department team dispatched in December is sticking around through January at a Beaumont hospital in Dearborn. It includes nurses and respiratory therapists in the emergency and critical care departments.

“We were able to open additional beds in critical care, and our patients and staff have truly benefited from the expertise,” said Tom Lanni, chief operating officer in Dearborn.

Beaumont said it is placing full-page ads in newspapers pleading with people to get vaccinated.

“We’re at a breaking point,” the ad says in large capital letters.