Whitmer, hospitals take steps to expand capacity and limit spread of coronavirus

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 12:27 PM EDT
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(3/18/2020) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that waives or delays certain requirements to make it easier for health care centers to expand their capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan has just over 25,000 hospital beds, most of which are already full with people with other illnesses like the flu.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association has been working for weeks to add more beds, more ventilators and more masks.

Another big concern: Will there be enough health care workers Knowing that some doctors and nurses will be infected with COVID-19, which is the illness caused by coronavirus, hospitals across Michigan are trying to add staff.

"Tapping in to retired physicians, retired nurses and other caregivers

who may be in a position, because they've maintained their license to jump back into the field," said U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan.

One way hospitals are working to free up both staff and beds is to postpone elective procedures and tests. Some hospitals are even offering special incentives for medical professionals willing to work on the front line during the pandemic.

Mid-Michigan hospitals are taking steps to curb the spread of coronavirus in their facilities.

Covenant HealthCare

The Saginaw hospital recently added a triage area outside its main entrance to screen people for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, before they enter the Emergency Care Center.

Anyone with respiratory symptoms will receive a mask and enter the hospital separately from other patients to receive additional evaluation.

Covenant also is postponing most elective surgical procedures.

Hurley Medical Center

The Flint hospital is restricting visitors to adults only -- and only during the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Only one visitor will be allowed per patient, except in the Labor and Delivery Department, where two are allowed.

No children are allowed in the hospital except for "exceptional circumstances." Nobody being treated for COVID-19 will be allowed any visitors.

Ascension Michigan hospitals

Ascension Genesys in Grand Blanc Township, Ascension St. Mary's in Saginaw, Ascension Standish Hospital and Ascension St. Joseph in Tawas City are enacting temporary visitor restrictions.

Patients will only be allowed two visitors at a time. Visitors with flu-like symptoms will not be allowed in the hospitals. Children age 14 and younger will be allowed at the discretion of patients and care staff.

Anyone who traveled from a country deemed a Level 2 or 3 Warning for coronavirus by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention also will not be allowed in the hospitals.

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