Amid new COVID surge, hospitals rethink testing, visitation policies, elective procedures

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, Amid new COVID surge, hospitals rethink testing, visitation policies, elective procedures

Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Well being, together with another well being techniques in Michigan, is ramping up COVID-19 testing of sufferers coming into the system and discussing delaying some elective procedures to preserve private protecting tools and workers.

As the brand new surge of COVID-19 strikes Michigan with double-digit will increase in instances and deaths the previous a number of weeks, hospitals in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Tennessee and Texas have already triggered adjustments in how they deal with elective surgical procedures, testing and visitations.


Darryl Elmouchi, M.D., president of Spectrum Well being West, instructed Crain’s on Friday that Spectrum hospitals have begun testing all sufferers going into the emergency division and people who must be admitted to the hospital, no matter signs, as a result of its COVID-19 positivity charge has exceeded 6 p.c for sufferers.

Throughout Spectrum’s 15 hospitals, 9 p.c of assessments are constructive, up from three p.c earlier this month, he mentioned.

“There’s sufficient group unfold that we might wish to take a look at our inpatient grownup inpatients to verify they did not have COVID,” Elmouchi mentioned. “It is principally achieved to guard the affected person guests and workers.”

Discharged sufferers who’re headed to a congregate dwelling scenario additionally might be examined and people who have scheduled procedures are examined as much as 96 hours previous to the process, Elmouchi mentioned.

Friday morning, Spectrum Well being reported having 167 sufferers with confirmed instances of COVID-19 and one other 11 suspected, triple the quantity three weeks in the past and breaking all earlier system information. Spectrum additionally reported 62 of its staff have COVID-19, up from 29 earlier this week, with a complete of 105 screened which can be thought-about “not OK.”

“Most staff are getting it locally,” Elmouchi mentioned. “Virtually none from affected person to workers . … and none from workers to sufferers due to our (private protecting tools) guidelines.”

Whereas metro Detroit’s positivity take a look at charge was above 20 p.c in April, Elmouchi mentioned testing then was restricted to principally symptomatic folks.

“We had been solely testing 200 to 250 folks a day, and now we’re testing four,000,” he mentioned.

However Elmouchi acknowledged that Spectrum has mentioned internally a plan to delay sure elective procedures, together with beauty breast surgical procedure, if COVID-19 hospitalizations enhance an excessive amount of and impacts staffing.

“The great piece of reports is we’ve no vital considerations with PPE. Our provide chain has achieved a terrific job in securing ample PPE,” he mentioned. “From a staffing standpoint, that’s my largest concern. … What we’re actually making an attempt to keep away from is what occurred within the first go-round, the place we shut down every part aside from COVID.”

Elmouchi mentioned surgeons have volunteered to delay sure procedures if the scenario warrants it. He mentioned already the hospital has shifted surgical procedures to completely different days and from inpatient to outpatient places.

“To be trustworthy with you, there’s completely an opportunity you may be speaking to me every week from immediately and I will say we’ve canceled all of our breast implants for the subsequent two weeks so we will have extra workers to do” different surgical procedures, Elmouchi mentioned. “It is a fluid scenario.”

Hospitalizations for COVID-positive sufferers rose to 1,398 on Oct. 29, a 41 p.c enhance from every week in the past.

A 13-county area in West Michigan round Grand Rapids had 254 COVID-19 sufferers in its hospitals this previous week, greater than the 238 COVID sufferers in hospitals in Wayne, Washtenaw and Monroe counties, state knowledge present.

Spectrum is also lowering the numbers of holiday makers to its hospitals and outpatient websites by limiting grownup sufferers to at least one grownup member of the family or visitor per affected person. Labor and supply obstetrics sufferers are allowed two grownup guests. COVID-19 sufferers are usually not allowed in-person guests, a coverage that harkens again to April when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered a lockdown and partial halt on elective surgical procedures. Spectrum mentioned it’s going to work with sufferers and households to coordinate digital visits.


Crain’s requested a number of different well being techniques in Michigan about whether or not they plan or are contemplating altering testing protocols or lowering quantity of elective procedures due to the rising pandemic.

Most techniques say they both depart testing choices to doctor discretion or observe Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention suggestions for hospitals and outpatient facilities. However this leaves sufferers confused.

Doug Jones, basic supervisor of Metro Airport Truck in Taylor, mentioned his mom was handled and admitted on completely different days by medical doctors at Michigan Medication, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn for a non-coronavirus symptom.

Jones’ mom was examined for COVID-19 (detrimental) at Michigan Medication and St. Joe’s however not at Beaumont Dearborn.Nick Gilpin, D.O., Beaumont’s director of an infection prevention, mentioned Beaumont Well being would not take a look at all sufferers getting into emergency departments or hospitals. It leaves these choices to the doctor’s discretion, he mentioned.

Gilpin mentioned the vast majority of pre-op and labor-and-delivery sufferers are examined and most sufferers who current with any signs in step with COVID-19 are supplied testing.

On delaying elective procedures, Gilpin mentioned Beaumont has thought-about the likelihood. He mentioned Beaumont has enough PPE, together with hospital beds and workers.

With greater than 1,300 hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers throughout a single day in early April, Southfield-based Beaumont Well being handled extra sufferers for the coronavirus than another well being system. On Friday, it had 210 coronavirus-positive sufferers in its hospitals, up from 96 on Oct. 1.

“This 12 months, we’ve discovered fairly a bit about COVID-19. We don’t see the necessity for sufferers to delay non-COVID-19 care right now,” Gilpin mentioned in an electronic mail. “We’ve got taken quite a few precautions to offer a secure setting. Eliminating non-essential surgical procedures once more could be unlikely at this level.”

Mary Masson, a spokesperson with Michigan Medication, mentioned the Ann Arbor-based well being care group has not canceled any elective surgical procedures. “We’re always monitoring and planning for affected person surges and we might make adjustments sooner or later,” Masson mentioned.

At Detroit Medical Heart, medical doctors order COVID-19 assessments on all sufferers who meet the suitable standards as designated by the CDC.

“This contains testing all symptomatic sufferers being admitted for hospitalization, all pregnant girls admitted for supply, all infants born to moms who’re COVID-positive and people sufferers present process aerosol-generating procedures,” DMC spokesman Brian Taylor mentioned.

Livonia-based Trinity Well being Michigan additionally has designed its COVID-19 screening course of primarily based on steering from the CDC, MDHHS and native well being departments, spokesperson Laura Blodgett mentioned.

“Sufferers who current to the emergency room at one among our services are examined for COVID-19 if they’re symptomatic, fall right into a excessive threat class, or if they’re going to be admitted or noticed for any purpose,” Blodgett mentioned. “Sufferers having a scheduled invasive process are examined for COVID-19 three days earlier than their scheduled process.”

Trinity hasn’t decided on suspending elective procedures. Blodgett mentioned the system believes it has enough PPE and workers assets, particularly as a result of it will probably faucet into assets offered by the well being system’s 92 hospitals.

At Ascension Michigan, a 12-hospital system primarily based in Warren, spokesperson Chris Gleason mentioned the Catholic system is following CDC pointers in the intervening time.

Gleason mentioned Ascension hospitals additionally has a surge plan that enables it to rapidly adapt to affected person wants and well being care calls for by grouping sufferers and creating further intensive care house for COVID-19 sufferers.

“We’d like everybody to take this critically and do what they will to gradual the unfold,” Gleason mentioned.

Henry Ford Well being System, a six-hospital system primarily based in Detroit, additionally mentioned medical doctors consider sufferers and take a look at them if mandatory. Surgical procedure sufferers are examined or if a affected person is to be admitted, even when asymptomatic, spokesman John Gillespie mentioned.

“All obstetric sufferers might be requested COVID screening questions upon arrival to labor and supply unit” and all emergency departments, Gillespie mentioned.

“If screened constructive, the affected person needs to be examined for COVID-19 no matter whether or not she is admitted or positioned in remark,” he mentioned.

Gillespie mentioned Henry Ford hasn’t determined but to postpone elective surgical procedures. He mentioned the system has a 100-day provide of PPE.

“Henry Ford has had a proper systemwide group in place since midsummer to leverage every part we discovered throughout the first surge to information our operational choices within the occasion of a second surge,” he mentioned. “This contains provisions to deploy our assets in order that we might proceed to satisfy the well being care wants of the group whereas additionally caring for ambulatory and hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers.”


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