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Whitmer eases restrictions on hospital visits as coronavirus spread slows

hospital visitors

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rolled back restrictions on hospital visitations Wednesday, as Michigan continues to ease the lockdown imposed on residents due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The current restrictions, which banned most visitors, will be loosened June 11.

“As we slowly and safely reopen our economy, it’s important to roll back emergency orders designed to deal with the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said in a news release. “By rolling back executive orders, and allowing more people to visit their loved ones in hospitals, it sends a clear signal we are making progress in the fight against COVID-19 and continue to move in a positive direction.”

 

Since March 14, hospital visitations have been severely restricted, with only parents, foster parents and guardians of patients younger than 21, as well as anyone exercising power of attorney, allowed to enter medical facilities. 

Some hospitals went further —  the University of Michigan Medical System banned all visitors

The rescission of the March executive order is part of Michigan’s gradual reopening of the economy, and the state’s continuation of the MI Safe Start plan.

While visitation rules are loosened, there are still restrictions. Facilities must: 

  • Limit visitor entry to designated entrances that allow proper screening;
  • Post signage at the visitor entrance instructing visitors to be assessed for symptoms of COVID-19 before entry and instructing persons who have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including, but not limited to, fever, cough or shortness of breath to not enter the facility; 
  • Perform a health evaluation of all individuals that are not under the care of the facility each time the individual seeks to enter the facility, and deny entry to those individuals who do not meet the evaluation criteria. 
  • Strongly discourage entering any facility to visit persons at high risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19, including older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions;
  • Restrict visitation to the patient’s room or other designated locations;
  • Require visitors who are medically able to wear a mask or other cloth face covering for the duration of their visit, and swiftly remove from the facility visitors who fail to abide by this requirement; 
  • For in-patient stays, make available on-site and off-site alternatives to in-person visits, such as video or audio calls;
  • Disallow visitation during aerosol-generating procedures or during collection of respiratory specimens unless deemed necessary by hospital staff for the care and well-being of the patient; and
  • Permit visitation only during select hours and limits the number of visitors per resident.

“Sometimes a visitor can be just the medicine a hospitalized patient needs to help them through their recovery,” Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in a release. “As long as strong precautions are taken to help ensure the health and safety of visitors, patients and staff, this order allows for exceptions to those restrictions.”
 

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