By Jon King /

With a fourth wave of COVID infections sweeping across Michigan, at least eight hospitals, including St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, are 100% full, leading to longer Emergency Room wait times and patients being forced to travel farther to find a hospital with available beds.

Dr. David Vandenberg, the Chief Medical Officer at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston said they have been “managing day-to-day ICU operations either at capacity or above standard capacity throughout much of November,” adding that “While patient safety remains our number one priority, the unrelenting volume of COVID-19 patients with advanced illness makes managing their care very difficult on our medical teams. We continue to ask for our community's help in reducing transmission of COVID-19 through methods we know work.”

Dr. Vandenberg pleaded with the public to “Please help our doctors, nurses and support staff by getting vaccinated and by getting your booster vaccine. Please continue to wear your face mask in public, avoid large indoor crowds, and wash your hands regularly."

The most recent state data indicates that the state’s ICU beds are 85% full, with more than 4,000 adults and 58 children hospitalized with either confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections.