Media Contact: Mary Masson - Michigan Medicine 734-764-2220; (c) 734-846-8558
Media Contact: Susan Ringler Cerniglia, M.P. H. - Washtenaw County Health Department 734-544-6759; (c) 734-678-7010
Media Contact: Laura Blodgett - Saint Joseph Mercy Health System / IHA 734-712-4536; (pager) 734-670-5370

Michigan Medicine, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, IHA partnering with county health departments to respond to COVID-19

Livingston, Washtenaw health officials working with hospitals

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Hospital and health officials from the Livingston and Washtenaw areas have been collaborating for weeks on preparation for patients with COVID-19, keeping in contact and sharing emergency response plans.

Both Michigan Medicine and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System have implemented visitor guidance asking people who are sick to wait until they are healthy to visit patients.

“We want to assure community members that their healthcare leaders are preparing for potential patients. At Michigan Medicine, we have activated a comprehensive planning and response team. We have plans in place so that we can appropriately care for these patients and keep our employees and the community safe,” said Jeff Desmond, chief medical officer for Michigan Medicine.

Health department and hospital officials stress that good hand hygiene is the best defense against the spread of diseases like COVID-19 or the flu. They encourage all to practice proper cough practices — cough into your arm, elbow, or tissue — and clean frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant.

This week, Michigan Medicine launched a video that shows how to wash hands with the help of the “Hail to the Victors” fight song.

People should stay six feet away from those who are sick if possible, practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and should stay home from work, school or social gatherings when they are sick.

“To help minimize community spread, we will continue to screen all presenting patients regarding fever, respiratory symptoms, travel risk factors, and exposures and, if indicated, immediately place a mask on and isolate the patient,” said Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, M.D., chief clinical officer at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may be mild or severe and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have symptoms, the best thing to do is call your primary care physician, who can determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

“Unless you are experiencing emergency symptoms, we recommend you don’t go to an emergency room where you can infect others,” said Juan Luiz Marquez, M.D., M.P.H., medical director at Washtenaw County Health Department. “Most COVID-19 symptoms can be managed at home with advice from a physician.”

“Remote tools such as virtual-visits also can be a good option for people. Those without primary care physicians can also call the health department for advice or a place to start,” said Donald Lawrenchuk, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the Livingston County Health Department.

Residents can call Livingston County Health Department at 517-546-9850 or the Washtenaw County Health Department at 734-544-6700. Or access information at Michigan.gov/coronavirus.

More information is available at Michigan Medicine, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Livingston County Health Department and Washtenaw County Health Department.

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