Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Updated March 28, 2020

Important Updates

The coronavirus pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation. U-M officials and medical experts, in close coordination with the state and local public health experts, are closely monitoring for developments and will offer additional guidance to the Michigan Medicine community as soon as it is available.

Message from the CEO of Michigan Medicine

Dr. Marschall Runge, MD, PhD

 “For weeks, Michigan Medicine teams have been preparing to care for patients infected with COVID-19 if the need arises. Our teams will take all necessary precautions to triage patients appropriately and prevent the spread of the virus. We continue to work closely with state and local public health officials to monitor the disease and the best practices for containment.”

Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D.
CEO, Michigan Medicine


What We Are Doing to Care for Our Patients, Visitors and Employees

We are using and will continue to use proper precautions with patients with COVID-19 who may be admitted, including careful use of isolation to minimize the risk of exposure to our employees and patients.

Based on that, risk of infection is low for our visitors and employees, even if you work in our hospitals or near the unit where the patient is isolated. Risk is considered high if you have prolonged exposure to someone with symptoms without appropriate protective equipment. 

More Steps We Are Taking to Manage COVID-19

We are following the evolving situation closely and continuing  for more potential patients. We have activated our comprehensive emergency response teams, which are ready at all times for emergencies. Here are some of the steps we are taking to manage COVID-19:

Monitoring patients: Michigan Medicine is monitoring patients to quickly identify those with increased risk of exposure and need for possible COVID-19 testing. We have established new guidelines providing access to face masks for all health care workers, and have suspended family and visitor access at the hospital, with limited exceptions, to protect our patients and health care team from additional exposure. See our Michigan Medicine Visitor Guidelines During COVID-19 page for the most updated information.

Coordinating with public health officials: We are working closely with public health officials at the local, state and national levels to monitor the spread of the virus as well as our colleagues at the University of Michigan main campus. Public health officials are providing quarantine guidance and monitoring of individuals identified as being “at risk.” For more information about how we are coordinating with area health systems and departments, read our news release: Michigan Medicine, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, IHA partnering with county health departments to respond to COVID-19.

We are also working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on availability of COVID-19 testing, and have begun our own COVID-19 testing service to expand testing capacity for the communities we serve.

Supplies and facilities: Michigan Medicine is monitoring crucial supplies like masks, hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment and is proactively placing orders for additional supplies. We are also accepting donations of protective gear from the community.

We have set up a Regional Infectious Containment Unit (RICU), as well as additional isolation rooms on multiple units. We have also identified preferred ambulatory care sites and inpatient locations for gathering patients.

Enhanced access to outpatient care: To help patients receive appropriate care with minimal risk of spreading disease in their communities wherever possible, we have taken several key steps:

  • 24-7 COVID-19 Hotline for established adult Michigan Medicine patients with questions about symptoms, home management, whether medical treatment is required and what specific steps they should follow to receive care or testing. Learn more about the COVID-19 Hotline under the question below: "I think I have coronavirus or COVID-19, what do I do?"
  • Curbside COVID-19 screening: Curbside COVID-19 screening for established Michigan Medicine patients will be offered from select Michigan Medicine health center locations by referral only.
  • Virtual Care expansion: Michigan Medicine providers are expanding access to E-Visits and Video Visits to allow existing patients to continue to receive regular care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have a question about a scheduled appointment or procedure, please follow up with your care provider.

COVID-19 at Michigan Medicine by the Numbers

Updated March 28, 3:30 pm

Michigan Medicine has begun posting daily snapshots of our current COVID-19 testing and inpatient counts.

“We know there is a lot of anxiety and concern in our community. We are sharing these statistics to help the public understand the current situation in our hospital,” said Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president of Medical Affairs for the University of Michigan.

These numbers will be updated daily.

As of March 28, 1:30  pm:

  • Total patients tested for COVID-19 at Michigan Medicine since the pandemic began (includes pending tests): 1,702
  • Total positive tests: 268
  • Tests pending (waiting for results): 147
  • Current inpatients that are COVID-19 positive: 76 


COVID-19 in Michigan Map

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions & Answers

What is Novel Coronavirus COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It has been diagnosed in multiple locations worldwide and has received widespread attention from public health authorities and the news media. We are closely monitoring and following guidance from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are in close contact with state and local health authorities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

Who is at risk of getting COVID-19?

In Michigan, we are seeing community spread of COVID-19, which means that there is some risk of exposure for everyone. 

Exposure risk is higher for:

  • Healthcare workers and for those who have prolonged close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Elderly people and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk of more severe infection.

You can lower your risk of exposure by practicing social distancing including staying at least 6 feet away from people, limiting contact with large groups of people, and washing your hands frequently.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).

Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.

I think I have coronavirus or COVID-19, what do I do?

If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, please call 911.

E-Visits for COVID-19 symptoms: E-Visits are now available for Michigan Medicine patients experiencing cough, flu or COVID-19 like symptoms. Learn more about E-Visits.

Michigan Medicine COVID-19 Hotline: 734-763-6336Michigan Medicine has opened a hotline for established adult Michigan Medicine patients with questions about symptoms, home management, whether medical treatment is required and what specific steps they should follow to receive care or testing.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, only for patients and employees of Michigan Medicine.

COVID-19 testing: If it is determined that you should get tested for COVID-19, you may be directed to one of three curbside testing locations Michigan Medicine has set up. Please note that curbside testing is only available to patients with a referral from the Michigan Medicine hotline or a Michigan Medicine health provider.

Questions not related to COVID-19 symptoms should be directed to your primary care provider’s office.

If you do not have a primary care provider, contact your local health department. In Washtenaw County, that number is 734-544-6700.

Stay at home and away from others if you are sick.

In many cases, COVID-19 can be managed without emergency care. However, if your symptoms are severe and you are in an emergency situation, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

Who is at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19?

According to the CDC and WHO, people at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 include older adults over 60 and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer
  • People with compromised immune systems

People with compromised immune systems include those:

  • With primary or acquired immunodeficiency
  • On anti-rejection therapy following organ or bone marrow transplant
  • On biologic therapeutic agents
  • With malignant cancers or receiving or who have recently received chemotherapy
  • Receiving systemic immunosuppressive therapy, including corticosteroids equivalent to 20 mg a day of prednisone for 2 weeks or longer

If you are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, watch closely for symptoms and emergency warning signs. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Get medical attention immediately if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, including:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Blue-colored lips or face

This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Visit our COVID-19 Patient-Specific Guidelines page to view or download information for patients with specific conditions or who are being treated at certain Michigan Medicine clinics. This page will be updated as we learn more about the disease.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says health experts are still learning about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes
  • In rare cases, contact with feces

What steps can I take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or flu?

If you are ill, stay home and rest. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (Watch the video: "Wash Your Hands: Fight Germs with the University of Michigan Fight Song" for a "Go-Blue" approved demonstration of how to do this.)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.

How is COVID-19 treated?

There are currently no tested therapies proven to prevent or treat COVID-19. Treatments are instead focused on supporting the patient and managing symptoms, helping the patient to breathe, and allowing the body to fight the infection and heal.

University of Michigan faculty are closely monitoring a number of potential treatments in development around the world, including several therapies currently being investigated here at Michigan Medicine.

What should I do about scheduled appointments, or appointments I need to schedule unrelated to COVID-19?

Michigan Medicine providers are expanding access to E-Visits and Video Visits to allow existing patients to continue receiving regular care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provider offices are contacting some patients to transition scheduled appointments to an E-Visit format, and some new appointment requests may also be scheduled as Video Visits.

Contact your clinic with other questions about appointments, or visit our Virtual Care page to determine if an E-Visit or Video Visit could help you avoid the need to visit a clinic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Video Resources

To view other videos in this series, click on the icon in the upper right of the video screen.