State Secures Federal Team to Assist Saginaw’s Covenant HealthCare with Staffing

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the federal government has granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for additional staffing assistance at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, as hospitals see a surge in COVID-19 patients.

“We are incredibly grateful that the Department of Defense has stepped up to offer their support to our employees and community as we continue our battle against COVID-19. The Covenant Team has been on the front lines of the pandemic since March of 2020,” said Kevin Birchmeier, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Covenant HealthCare. “As the largest acute care hospital in a 20-county region, patients and other hospitals rely on us for care. We take this responsibility very seriously and want to do anything we can to keep our patients, staff, and community safe.”

Under the agreement, the federal government will send a 22-person medical team to support Covenant’s doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 and other patients. The additional staffing team will include registered nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists. The team will arrive at Covenant December 12, and provide support for 30 days.  Two additional teams are providing support at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

“I’m grateful to our federal partners for delivering much-needed relief to Michigan’s hospitals and healthcare personnel who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic for over 18 months,” said Governor Whitmer. “We know that the vast majority of their patients are unvaccinated or have not yet received a booster dose. We can all do our part to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to get a booster dose and continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. We are in this together.”

Michiganders are being asked to carefully consider where they seek health care, such as a primary care office, virtual visit or urgent care, because hospitals and emergency rooms are experiencing high demand. You should still seek emergency care for conditions like stroke symptoms, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or a significant injury.

As of Dec. 1, 4,291 Michigan residents were hospitalized for COVID-19.

“We continue to work to provide support to our hospitals across the state as we know this latest surge is taking a tremendous toll on our health care workers who have already given so much throughout the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director. “We are asking 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.”