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Metro Detroit hospitals brace for surge of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients

Beaumont treating 650 COVID-19 patients

DETROIT – Officials announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan on March 10, 2020.

Beaumont hospitals are now treating at least 650 COVID-19 patients, and have another 200 tests pending results.

Beaumont officials have temporarily closed the emergency center at its hospital in Wayne to prepare for even more patients.

The emergency room will become a makeshift intensive care unit, according to officials.

Just days ago Beaumont’s CEO told the Detroit Free Press that the pandemic was a tsunami creating the hospital’s worst nightmare.

Chief Operating Officer Carolyn Wilson had a different outlook.

“The Beaumont Wayne team has the expertise and ability to respond quickly to meet the needs of our COVID-19 patients. When patients come to a Beaumont hospital to seek care for COVID-19, our physicians will assess them. If the hospital does not have the capacity to care for the patient, we will transfer more COVID-19 patients to Beaumont Hospital Wayne,” Wilson said.

According to officials, patients who need emergency care, even for COVID-19, should go to the Beaumont Canton Emergency Center or another hospital.

“We continue to monitor the shifting volumes and needs of our patients and teams across Beaumont to make the best decisions,” Wilson said. “I am confident the team at our Wayne hospital is ready to serve the needs of COVID-19 patients. We are sending additional staff, supplies and equipment to help support our phenomenal team at Wayne.”

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

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?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

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.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

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.


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