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Spectrum Health implementing visitor restrictions and testing changes as COVID-19 cases rise

Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 11, 2020

Spectrum Health, updating the community on COVID-19 numbers we’re seeing in West Michigan.

Hospital leaders said Wednesday that a big jump in cases over the past few weeks means they’re having to make a few changes, including hospital visitor restrictions and who gets tested.

“This is very serious,” said Darryl Elmouchi MD, President of Spectrum Health.

Elmouchi sent out a warning to all of West Michigan as we inch closer to the holidays.

He said, “We are very fearful that if big groups start getting together, the spread will go on even further.”

Elmouchi alongside Spectrum Health CEO, Tina Freese Decker released new COVID-19 numbers Wednesday, saying their hospitals will hit capacity in a few days.

Freese Decker said, “We today, have just about under 300 patients hospitalized in all of Spectrum Health hospitals exact number is about to 289.”

Freese Deckers said those numbers have tripled in the last 20 days and West Michigan’s positivity rate is sitting around 14% compared to the 3% we saw a few months ago.

She said “COVID_19 is affecting all groups, young and old ,cutting across all populations.”

That’s why the group is putting new visitor restrictions in place.

“Essentially for adult patients coming into our ED and in our hospitals, they will not be permitted to have visitors with the exceptions of the ICE, End of Life Care and very specific exceptions,” Elmouchi said.

Spectrum Health estimates that they are averaging about 4,000 tests per day and will be changing some testing requirements.

Elmouchi said, “Starting now, we will be prioritizing symptomatic patients for testing in the community and we will not be performing tests on people solely with exposure.”

Even with this spike, Elmouchi is urging everyone not to delay routine health care visits and planned procedures.

“Our sincere goal is to keep as much care going as possible, particularly in the outpatient setting. We no longer have concerns over PPE supplies, so we can protect our patients protect our visitors and protect our staff,” he said.

With fewer outdoor options as we head into winter, Spectrum Health said the public needs to step up their safety practices and limit social gatherings outside immediate family.

Freese Decker said, “We are asking you to always wear a mask, wash your hands, be social distant.”

Spectrum Health added that they are optimistic about a potential vaccine in the coming months and they are actively working on plans to be a part of the distribution once it gets FDA approval.