Some Michigan hospital requirements changed to enhance coronavirus (COVID-19) response

Gov. Whitmer signs Executive Order

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LANSING, Mich. – Some Michigan hospital requirements have been changed to enhance the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order on Tuesday that allows the Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to waive certain requirements to provide more care to patients.

The order will last through April 15.

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Read the full order below:

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-13, to temporarily lift regulatory requirements on hospitals and care facilities and help ensure an adequate number of health care providers available to patients during the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Under the executive order, effective immediately and until Wednesday, April 15 at 11:59pm, The Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) may take steps to ensure more people receive care.

Executive Order 2020-13 grants LARA and DHHS authority to waive or defer certain requirements in order to expedite the process of bringing additional care facilities online during the COVID-19 emergency. The order also empowers LARA to ensure an adequate supply of care providers during the emergency by granting the department additional flexibility in its decisions about licensing, registration, and workflow requirements.

“This is a crisis unlike any we’ve seen before, and we must do everything we can to ensure care for the most people,” said Governor Whitmer. “This executive order will help expand capacity so more people can access the care they need while we work to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. I will continue to work quickly with our partners in state government and with hospitals and care facilities to protect Michigan families.”

“Governor Whitmer is working around the clock with state government officials and our partners in the health care industry to ensure access to care for Michiganders,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “This executive order will help us meet that goal and help people across the state access the care they need. It’s a critical step at a time when we need all hands on deck to address this crisis.”

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.