Mid-Michigan hospitals reinstate visitor restrictions amid COVID-19 spike

Safety measures in Michigan hospitals take emotional toll on patients and their families
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (04/01/2021) - Hospitals across the state are tightening visitor restrictions as COVID-19 surges once again.

Ascension Michigan, Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Health System, and Spectrum Health are rolling policies back to where they were when the pandemic first began.

Cases are spreading faster than they have in months, and hospitals here in Mid-Michigan don’t want to take any risks. Some are even requiring proof of vaccination to enter.

As hospitals tighten safety measures again, it’s taking an emotional toll on patients and their families.

”The guy was talking to my mom, and asking her the questions, so that he could allow her through the doors, and he looked at me and said, ‘I’m sorry. You can’t go in with her. Absolutely no visitors.’”

A Birch Run woman, who didn’t want to be identified, spoke about being frustrated that she couldn’t take her 68-year-old mother inside the Emergency Room at Ascension Genesys Hospital after recently rolling back its visitor policy as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the state.

“I do understand a lot more than what my mom does when it comes to a doctor trying to tell her test results and stuff like that, and she didn’t have anybody there to help her understand this,” the Birch Run woman said.

Over the past week, Michigan averaged almost 5,000 cases a day, the highest since December, and hospitalizations are on the rise. That’s especially true with younger people who have not had full access to vaccines.

Now, several hospital systems, like Ascension Genesys, have tightened their visitor policies. The hospital recently changed its policy to no visitors with exceptions for one person for cases like when a patient in labor, in surgery, of if the patient is under 21-years-old.

“We are in a tough spot because we’re seeing these cases rise and rise. We’re not seeing it top off yet. It’s continuing to rise, and that makes us worried,” Dr. Matthew Deibel said. Deibel is the Medical Director of Covenant’s Emergency Care Center.

Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw also changed it’s policy. Routine patient visits have been suspended and only one healthy visitor will be allowed with a patient in the Emergency Room.

“Part of it is a message to the community that ‘Hey, we need your help here. We need everybody to do the things that we know that works,’ and so it’s wearing your mask, washing your hands, social distancing, not gathering in groups, get vaccinated when you’re able. Those things are what’s going to get us through this.”

To read the visitor policies for Ascension Genesys Hospital, click here.

To read the visitor policies for Covenant HealthCare, click here.

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