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Dr. Loren Hamel of Spectrum Health Lakeland discusses states reopening amid pandemic

NOW: Dr. Loren Hamel of Spectrum Health Lakeland discusses states reopening amid pandemic

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – Dr. Loren Hamel, chief strategy officer of Spectrum Health System and president of Spectrum Health Lakeland, spoke about Indiana and Michigan reopening, infection rates, front-line workers and his brother’s fight with the virus.

With Michigan’s overall infection rate appearing to plateau and Detroit’s number going down, many suspect we have reached the peak. According to Hamel, that is not the case.

“Both our models at our experience suggest the peak is going to occur slower and the total peak is going to be lower than what we saw in the east side of the state,” Hamel said. “No we’re not to the peak yet, we’re still slowly growing.”

According to Hamel, his COVID unit is busier.

“We have about 20 on our non-isolation unit and currently three in our COVID ICU isolation unit and we have capacity to accept more if need be,” he said. “But it is slowly growing and has over the last few weeks.”

On reopening the economy Hamel states, “we need to reopen our economy and it’s a risk. I believe it’s probably a little early to reopen the economy here in southwestern Michigan, but I believe we need to understand what we can open safely and continue, of course, all of the very diligent efforts of course to keep our hands clean and our faces covered with masks and to keep social distancing.”

On the nurses that fight on the front lines, Hamel thanked them saying “I’m just so grateful to all those caregivers that put the needs of our patients first and their needs second and are here every day fighting on the front line of the COVID battle. We’re doing everything we can to keep them safe, but we know we can’t reduce that risk to absolutely zero. Those folks are being careful, but are also being courageous and taking care of their friends and neighbors every day.”

The virus has also hit Hamel’s family in a personal way. His twin brother, Dr. Lowell Hamel, has also come down with the disease.

“He has made a dramatic recovery, a rapid recovery, and appears to be showing no residual effect of the disease, but kept as close to dying as I’ve seen somebody on COVID, with COVID and not dying. So it’s been a real blessing thanks to what I believe is some great care and also a lot of prayer,” Hamel said.

On his brother’s recovery and return to work, he stated, “he’s convalescing at home and he’s working virtually. He joined us today for several meetings and is looking and acting like his old self.”

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