MDHHS issues emergency order to require COVID-19 testing of employees at 5 psychiatric hospitals, centers

Order issued Monday, effective immediately

(Ariel Schalit, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an emergency order Monday requiring coronavirus (COVID-19) testing of employees at five MDHHS-operated psychiatric hospitals and centers.

Under the order, testing is required for staff at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline, Hawthorn Center in Northville, Caro Center, Walter Reuther Psychiatric Hospital in Westland and Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital.

The order was signed by MDHHS Director Robert Gordon and is effective immediately.

Requirements under the order include:

  • Test newly hired staff on their start date or 72 hours before start date
  • Test staff who are in close contact with some with COVID-19 or show symptoms of the virus.
  • Facilities with positive cases identified in the last 14 days must test all staff scheduled to work that week until no positive cases among patients or staff have been identified within the last 14 days.
  • Exclude any employee from from work who does not receive a test with required to be tested.
  • Previous confirmed positive cases do not need to be tested again for 90 days after the initial positive test.

“MDHHS believes that COVID-19 testing is one of the best tools we have in limiting its spread,” Gordon said in a press release. “Testing -- along with wearing masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing -- is especially important in settings such as our state psychiatric hospitals where people are often in close contact with each other.”

The order also requires the hospitals and centers to take precaution in accordance to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.