Beaumont hospitals restore visitor restrictions amid rising COVID cases

Visitation restrictions in place starting Thursday, March 25

Visitor restrictions will resume at all Beaumont Health hospitals starting Thursday as COVID-19 cases rise rapidly in Michigan.

On Wednesday, Beaumont Health announced the reinstatement of health and safety precautions at all hospital locations in an effort to protect patients, staff and communities amid a surge in coronavirus spread.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 25, no visitors will be allowed into the rooms of Beaumont patients who are either pending or confirmed positive for COVID-19. Under certain circumstances, some COVID-19 patients will be allowed visitors, such as those who are under 21 years old, in labor, approaching the end of life or other extreme circumstances. Officials say all exceptions must be approved by clinical leadership.

Beaumont patients who do not have COVID-19 are allowed one family member or friend to be present during the following situations, as listed by Beaumont:

  • Person who is in serious or critical condition.
  • Person being evaluated for hospice care or near the end of life. Additional family may take turns at their loved one’s bedside (two people are permitted at the bedside).
  • Adult with disability who needs help with communicating or managing anxiety. Person undergoing a surgical procedure.
  • When required for support, and arrangements are made in advance, person having an outpatient test or procedure.
    • Each site determines whether a support person may stay after the patient is received by an Emergency Center staff member. Please check upon your arrival to the EC.
  • Woman in labor or with pregnancy complications. A doula in addition to the designated partner is permitted.
  • Children who are 21 years of age or under. Two parents are permitted.

Officials say anyone under the age of 16 is not allowed to visit a patient at the hospital.

“We have noticed an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in metro Detroit over the past few weeks,” said Dr. Nick Gilpin, medical director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology for Beaumont Health. “Community positivity rates have jumped, and we are seeing more and more COVID-19 variants, too. While we are happy that the vaccine is becoming more widely available, we know that taking difficult steps, like restricting visitation, is still necessary to help us keep our patients and our staff safe.”

Beaumont officials say exceptions will apply to visitors if a family member or friend screens negative for symptoms of a respiratory infection.

Masks will be required to be worn by everyone inside of the hospitals, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. Specific guidelines for visitors who have been fully vaccinated will be disclosed in April, officials said.

“We decided to restrict visitors after thoughtful conversations with our physicians, nurses and staff. We know that families are critical to the healing process,” Beaumont Health Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant, RN, said. “It’s troubling to see COVID-19 numbers climbing again just as more vaccine is finally starting to become available. Please wear a mask when you are in public and help us stop the spread of the virus.”

Officials say the visitation restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

Beaumont’s announcement comes as the state of Michigan sees a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the last several weeks. On Tuesday, the state reported a single-day increase of 3,579 new virus cases -- one of the highest single-day totals since early January.

Weekly average positive COVID-19 tests have risen above 8 percent in the last week -- also the highest its been since early January.

The state has ramped up its vaccination efforts, but since older populations were prioritized in the first rounds of vaccine distribution, younger age groups appear to be driving the state’s increase in virus hospitalizations.

According to Michigan Health & Hospital Association, hospitalizations have increased by 633 percent for adults ages 30-39 and by 800 percent for adults ages 40-49 between March 1 and March 23 alone. Groups under the age of 50 are among the lowest vaccinated groups in Michigan right now as eligibility expands for the 16 and older groups.

More: MHA: Younger age groups driving rise in Michigan COVID-19 hospitalizations

The state of Michigan reported a total of 54,500 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, March 23.

Last week, data from research group Covid Act Now showed that Michigan had the highest coronavirus infection rate in the country.

Read: Michigan has highest COVID infection rate in US, data shows

Michigan: All adults eligible for COVID vaccine April 5

The state of Michigan announced that all residents age 16 and up will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 5, nearly a month before the May 1 date pledged by President Joe Biden.

People age 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities qualified starting March 22, when 50- to 64-year-olds can begin getting shots under a previous announcement. Two days later, March 24, a federally selected regional mass vaccination site opened at Detroit’s Ford Field, and plans to administer an additional 6,000 doses a day for two months.

Learn more here.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.