Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Image of a virus.

Your health and safety is our first concern. MidMichigan Health is collaborating with national, state and local agencies to identify and care for patients with COVID-19. Recent updates include:

  1. Call your health care provider immediately if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If your provider office is closed, call Urgent Care or the Emergency Department for instructions before coming to the facility.
  2. Due to exceptionally high call volume, please refrain from calling with non-urgent matters to keep lines free for patients with immediate needs. You may use secure messaging in your MyMidMichigan account to send non-urgent questions and requests to your care team. If you are inquiring about an appointment that is more than two weeks out, please wait for further instruction. If you are not experiencing symptoms and would like general information about COVID-19, please use our website or call our informational hotline at (989) 794-7600 or toll free at (800) 445-7356.
  3. New visiting restrictions are in effect at all Medical Centers. Check Visiting Hours & Policies before visiting.
  4. Maternity visitors are limited to the patient's one support person only. The support person must be healthy and must be the same person throughout the stay.
  5. Elective surgeries and procedures - We have temporarily stopped performing elective surgeries and procedures. Your provider's office will call you if there is a change in your scheduled appointment. The date when these procedures will be reinstated is being regularly reviewed. We will continue to perform all emergency and urgent procedures and surgeries.
  6. Laboratory and Imaging Services - Patients are asked to postpone all elective testing including diagnostic imaging, non-invasive cardiovascular testing and lab work that is not deemed an immediate need by your provider. Check with your provider to determine if your test can be postponed. In addition, labs and imaging are temporarily unavailable at some locations. See Cancellations and Closures for details. If you need to come in for a lab, the Medical Centers in Alma, Midland and Mt. Pleasant offer online scheduling so you can minimize your wait and your exposure.

  7. Rehabilitation Services - MidMichigan Rehabilitation Services remains open to care for patients in need of physical, occupational and speech therapy. To schedule an appointment or to check an existing appointment, please contact our Rehabilitation Central Scheduling office at (989) 488-5825. A member of our staff will provide an appointment for you with a therapist who has the best clinical fit and expertise for your condition, as close to home as possible. As always, our experienced therapists remain committed to providing the highest level of quality care. We can accommodate same day appointments and are also exploring Telehealth capabilities in the near future. Additional updates will be posted as made available.

  8. Classes and support groups are canceled at all MidMichigan locations until further notice. We will reimburse registrants for canceled classes.
  9. Financial Assistance - We understand that these are stressful times and your health should be your primary concern. It is ours too. Please reach out to us if you need to make financial arrangements at (844) 832-1956.
  10. We will continue to ask patients and visitors about their recent travel history and possible exposure to COVID-19. It is vital that you answer these questions completely and accurately so that we may take necessary precautions to protect you and others.

As a service to the community, MidMichigan Health has published a COVID-19 informational hotline with a reminder of CDC guidelines and recommendations. The hotline can be reached toll-free at (800) 445-7356 or (989) 794-7600.

Resources

News/Video Releases:

(3/26/2020) - Temporary Staffing Application Now Online

(3/24/2020) - New Virtual Health Clinic, Ambulatory Testing Centers Help Reduce Exposure

(3/22/2020) - MidMichigan Responds to Positive Test, Reminds Community of Safety Measures

(3/19/2020) - COVID-19: A Reminder from MidMichigan Health

(3/14/2020) - MidMichigan Health Implements Governor’s Orders on Temporary Restrictions on Entry into Care Facilities

(3/13/2020) - New Visitor Restrictions, Class Cancellation, Information Hotline Established

(3/12/2020) - COVID-19 Emergency Department Testing Tent Implementation

(3/2/2020) - How MidMichigan is Preparing for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Podcasts:

MidMichigan Health Dose Podcast: What You Need to Know About Coronavirus

Visiting Hour Policy:

Medical Center Visiting Hours and Policies

Michigan Medicine Blog Posts:

Michigan Medicine Blog: Feeling Helpless About the Coronavirus? 10 Things You Can Do

Michigan Medicine Blog: How to Talk to Your Kids about COVID-19

Michigan Medicine Blog: Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does It Mean and How Can You Help?

Michigan Medicine Blog: How to Prepare for COVID-19

Michigan Medicine Blog: What Can You Do to Protect Against Coronavirus

Center for Disease Control:

CDC Review of the Coronavirus

Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated 3-12-2020

The following FAQs, with input by the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, help to answer common questions related to the virus.

What is COVID-19

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

How is COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Specifically, the spread can occur between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. The spread also can occur from contact with infected surfaces or objects.

In addition, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

What are the prevention measures for COVID-19?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. If you haven’t already done so, get a flu shot. As with the flu and other viruses, general hygiene precautions can help reduce the risk of getting ill. Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. And, disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

What is the treatment of COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to treat or prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Who is most at risk from infection?

Both COVID-19 and influenza are most dangerous to people who are older than 65, or have chronic illnesses or a weak immune system.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. If you haven’t already done so, get a flu shot. As with the flu and other viruses, general hygiene precautions can help reduce the risk of getting ill. Handwashing is important. Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. And, disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

What should I do in case of an outbreak?

It is best to keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines and household items on hand at all times. And, if not already done, be sure to get a flu shot.

How are you going to prevent myself or my loved one from getting COVID-19?

We are highly focused on our patients and their caregiving team. MidMichigan Health, in collaboration with national, state and local agencies, is reviewing and reinforcing processes for identifying and caring for patients with COVID-19 in the event that it is required.

Our Incident Command teams across the health system are meeting regularly to discuss possible scenarios and we are carefully monitoring the news as it evolves. We are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and working with state and local partners to make sure we are prepared for a possible threat to our community and our state.

Currently, general preparedness measures that have been completed, are in development and are ongoing at MidMichigan Health include:

  • Reinforcing patient travel screening and triage questions based on CDC recommendations for Emergency Departments, Ambulatory Care, physician offices and clinics, and inpatient settings.
  • Updating our electronic medical record (EMR) system with references/advisories for staff to identify patients who may be at risk for COVID-19 based on their travel history.
  • Working with the local health departments re. testing for patients meeting criteria.
  • Following CDC guidelines for handling tested specimens.
  • Outlining/mapping isolation procedures and areas.
  • Sharing information on COVID-19 patient management with appropriate clinical staff.
  • Equipping clinical areas with protective clothing and equipment to be used in the event of a suspected COVID-19 case.
  • Following comprehensive procedures for disinfecting patient rooms and removing/disposing of linens and cubicle curtains.
  • Preparing to communicate with state departments, employees and media in case of highly-suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Providing via the MidMichigan Health website CDC information on COVID-19, visitor policy information, and signage.

What education are you providing your staff about the virus?

The COVID-19 Task Force is disseminating educational materials with ongoing updates to MidMichigan Health staff in a variety of venues, such as:

  • Daily safety briefing updates
  • MidMichigan Health intranet
    • MidMichigan’s COVID-19 Toolkit, CDC materials, Health Department news
  • EPIC best practice advisories and travel screening
  • MidMichigan Health internet home page
  • MidMichigan Health Facebook page
  • Attend staff meetings as requested

Does MidMichigan Health have the right equipment to treat a patient with COVID-19?

Yes, MidMichigan Health is prepared in the event of receiving a COVID-19 patient. Contingency planning for a larger outbreak are currently underway.

Has MidMichigan Health dealt with outbreaks like this in the past?

We have been preparing for emerging diseases and viruses for many years, such as SARs, small pox, monkey pox, and Ebola, and have policies in place. With each disease and virus we have made necessary adjustments to our policies and procedures based on recommendations from the CDC.

What are your screening tools you are using to check if someone has COVID-19?

For your protection and for the protection of our community, we are asking all patients coming to any MidMichigan Health subsidiary if they have recently traveled outside the United States and/or had contact with someone with recent travel and exposure to COVID-19.

What if a person were to answer yes to the travel screening question?

If a patient answers yes, they would be asked to put on a mask and be taken to the facility specific location for care. The infection prevention manager would meet the care team to decide how to provide the safest care possible while protecting staff and other patients. The patient would be interviewed to learn more about their travel history and who they have been with for tracing and follow-up. In addition, we would begin the process of confirming the diagnosis in coordination with the state and CDC test centers. Confirmatory testing may take 24 hours for the diagnosis. If they present to a location other than the Emergency Department, they would be given a mask and will be directed to the designated Emergency Department.

Where does the patient go while they await their tests results?

Staffing, isolation room availability, patient condition, and many other factors are necessary for the team to make a unified decision in placing the patient.

What occurs if a patient suspected with COVID-19 presents in a physician office?

MidMichigan Health is screening all patients at every encounter. If a patient is suspected with COVID-19 and presents to a physician’s office, the office would complete the initial screening and communicate that to patient placement while having the patient put on a mask. The Infection Prevention team would be notified to clarify and make recommendations with a team for placement and direction on entering the building while minimizing exposure to others.

What should I do if I suspect I may have COVID-19?

For the safety of all, if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider immediately. If your provider office is closed, please contact Urgent Care or the Emergency Department prior to coming for direction on next steps.

What are you doing to protect visitors to MidMichigan Health locations?

As cases of the flu continue to be reported and there is a heightened alert to the growing coronavirus outbreak, MidMichigan Health is protecting patients and staff at its Medical Centers by keeping visitor restrictions in place for the remainder of the flu season. Only those visitors who are healthy, without symptoms of illnesses, will be allowed to visit patients at MidMichigan’s Medical Centers in Alpena, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Midland, Mt. Pleasant and West Branch. In addition, upon registration for Medical Center appointments, patients will continue to be screened for recent travel outside of the country.

Is it necessary to postpone or cancel travel arrangements?

The CDC provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. A list of destinations with travel notices is available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

  • Warning Level 3:CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices because of the risk of getting COVID-19.
  • Alert Level 2:Because COVID-19 can be more serious in older adults and those with chronic medical conditions, people in these groups should talk to a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel to destinations with level 2 travel notices.
  • Watch Level 1:CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with level 1 travel notices because the risk of COVID-19 is thought to be low. If you travel, take the following routine precautions:
    • Avoid contact with sick people.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 - 95 percent alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

Resources: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

COVID-19 Giving Opportunities

Consider giving to our Relief Fund during this COVID-19 crisis.

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We are partnering with THRIVE to address medical supply shortages for our region.