Beaumont Health is encouraging non-emergency patients to visit their physicians' offices or urgent care locations instead of coming to the health system's emergency rooms.
The Southfield-based system said Wednesday that all of its 10 emergency departments are nearly full as it battles the latest COVID-19 surge and staffing troubles.
The system is also facing a critical blood shortage.
Depending on the time of day, all of the beds available at Beaumont's hospitals are occupied, said David Donaldson, physician and chief of the emergency center at Troy Beaumont. Patients are being seen in the hallways, he said.
"Many people delayed getting tests and treatment for medical issues because of their concerns about the pandemic," CEO John Fox said in a statement. "Now, more than a year and a half after the pandemic began, those delays in care are resulting in medical emergencies. Plus, there are many people who still need to get vaccinated. So our staff must care for those unvaccinated individuals who become extremely ill with the COVID Delta variant, or other variants, and try to balance all the other patients coming in with medical emergencies. Add in a staffing shortage, and you have a perfect storm."
Beaumont has temporarily closed 180 of its more than 3,000 beds as it lacks adequate staffing to provide patient care in those beds.
The system said it's "working aggressively" to recruit new workers amid the glut of patients.
Most of Southeast Michigan's major health systems are temporarily closing down beds due to inadequate staffing.
Earlier this week, Henry Ford Health announced it temporarily closed 120 beds to maintain safety with fewer workers. Henry Ford's five-hospital system is at 95 percent capacity.
The majority of the eliminated beds were general medicine beds and some were in intensive care units at Henry Ford's Detroit and Jackson hospitals.
Beaumont did not specify where the beds were shuttered or in what units.
Donaldson said what qualifies as an emergency is left up to the patient.
"If you're experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath, that's quite obvious," Donaldson said. "I'd say err on the side of caution. If it is something that's ongoing, a minor issue, there are other ways you can be seen."
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Detroit Business.