Michigan Medicine launches new 32-bed COVID-19 unit, offers paid sick leave for exposed employees

ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine has established a 32-bed isolation unit in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Regional Infectious Containment Unit was activated as a response to the unprecedented public health crisis, said CEO of Michigan Medicine and dean of the Medical School Marschall Runge.

“This unit enhances care and minimizes risk of disease spread, while improving safety of patients on and off the unit, visitors and staff," Runge said in a statement. “Because of our preventive efforts, risk of infection remains low for our employees and visitors, even if you work in our hospitals or near the unit where a COVID-19 patient is isolated."

As of March 11, Michigan Medicine was treating one patient with COVID-19.

The RICU is a negative pressure unit comprised of 32 isolation rooms and follows CDC guidelines. According to a news release, similar locations within the University’s hospitals can be established, should the need arise.

Runge also announced that Michigan Medicine has created a special paid time off bank for its employees who are exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.

“We strongly believe that we need to recognize our physicians, nurses and all of our staff who are caring for patients with COVID-19," Runge said in a statement. "So, in addition to regular, paid time-off benefits, we are providing up to an additional 120 hours, special-use PTO bank for employees who need to quarantine as a result of caring for confirmed COVID-19 patients.

“Our health care providers are demonstrating their tremendous commitment to the health of their patients. We are so grateful to our entire team for their dedication during these extraordinary circumstances.”

The special-use PTO is in addition to the 80 hours U-M has offered to its employees during the crisis.

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