Munson visitor restrictions

Munsn Healthcare is restricting visiting access to its long-term care facilities and changing visitor policies at hospitals in light of the current COVID-19 concerns.

Munson Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Christine Nefcy, M.D., said the changes are necessary to ensure the safety of patients and staff as the virus causing the disease continues to become more prevalent in the nation and potential cases are identified in the state.

“COVID-19 continues to cause a public health threat and as a health care provider we have an obligation to meet the needs of the communities we serve and protect those most at risk which include the elderly and people with underlying health conditions,” she said.

New rules on visitation include:

  • At this time, Munson Healthcare is not allowing any visitors to enter its long-term care facilities in Frankfort, Grayling, Gaylord, and Kalkaska. Loved ones are encouraged to establish phone, email, or other means to stay connected.
  • All Munson Healthcare hospitals and emergency rooms will restrict any visitor under age 18 from entering, except for care. A maximum of two people may visit or accompany the patient.
  • Every person entering any Munson Healthcare facility must wash hands or use alcohol sanitizer before and after leaving any rooms and as well the Munson Healthcare facility.
  • Munson Healthcare pharmacies, home health, and home medical equipment locations ask any customer with fever, dry cough, and/or shortness of breath, or who has had contact with a COVID-19 patient or outbreak area, to consider whether their needs for medication, equipment, or supplies are urgent.
  • Munson Dialysis Centers (Munson Dialysis Center and Elizabeth Hosick Dialysis Center) and Kalkaska Dialysis Center are implementing a no visitor policy in all units, with a goal to reduce exposure to COVID-19 in this vulnerable patient population.
  • Individuals bringing dialysis patients to appointments will be allowed to enter the dialysis center if free of symptoms and other risk factors associated with COVID-19.
  • Visitors must exit the dialysis center once patients are seated in the waiting area. Individual patients requiring a sitter will be addressed on a per patient basis, approved by the dialysis center’s medical director.

Munson Healthcare continues to work closely with local health departments and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to follow World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control guidelines to confront the disease.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. At this time there is no treatment for COVID-19. Anyone who suspects they have the disease should quarantine themselves and be treated with supportive measures such as fluids, rest, and avoiding contact with others. Because of the number of test kits available in the state of Michigan, at this time testing is being limited to those patients who meet CDC and health department criteria only.

People should not go to the Emergency Department, Urgent Care, or Primary Care office just for coronavirus testing. This could potentially expose others to the virus, and it could direct resources away from others who have emergent or life-threatening needs.

Instead, people who think they may have the disease should stay home from work or school, drink plenty of fluids, rest, and isolate themselves. People who suspect they have COVID-19 and need to be evaluated should contact their primary care provider or the local hospital for further instructions. The appropriate time to seek emergency care is when there is an urgent need, such as difficulty breathing, or another life-threatening illness.

Also, people at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 should stay home as much as possible. Those at higher risk include older patients, older adults, and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state, Nefcy recommends using the same standard precautions for the flu:

  • Wash hands frequently, for 20 seconds with soap, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent – 95 percent alcohol
  • Cough into a tissue when possible (throw it away immediately) or into your arm if necessary
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose
  • Avoid contact with those who are ill
  • Stay home from work if ill and keep sick kids home from school
  • Avoid contact with other people’s hands (handshakes, high fives, and fist bumps can all transfer viruses)
  • Avoid crowds
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

More information on the virus is available at who.int and CDC.gov.

To learn more about Munson Healthcare preparations, go to munsonhealthcare.org.

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