FAQs: COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Last update: 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 29
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, faculty, staff and learners at Michigan Medicine have asked many questions regarding their work and personal lives.
Here is a closer look at many of the frequently asked questions, along with the answers that can be formulated as of now.
The organization will continue to update policies and procedures as the situation evolves.
Please note, the FAQs are divided into categories. Click on each category to jump to that section:
- Logistics, parking and transportation
- Human Resources
- Patient care
- Treatment and testing
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Visitor policies
- Workforce and potential exposures questions
- Field hospital
- Temporary housing
- Resuming operations
- More information
Q: With a significant number of entrances around the main medical campus closing, which ones remain open?
A: The number of entrances to the organization’s facilities have been reduced to help facilitate the universal mask policy and limit visitors. Doors will still be accessible for emergency egress.
Entrances open 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
- Rogel Cancer Center main entrance
- Adult Emergency Services
- University Hospital main entrance
- Children’s Emergency Services
- Cardiovascular Center Entrance
- C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital main entrance
- Medical School/University Hospital connector
Entrances with limited hours:
- Radiation/Oncology entrance: Open 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., M-F, and open to patients only.
- Level 2 Taubman/P2/P3 Connector: Open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
- Dock 5: Open ONLY for deliveries, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., M-F.
- Dock 9: Open ONLY for deliveries, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., M-F.
The UH South entrance is now closed 24/7.
Please note, staff that currently access the Rogel Cancer Center through the main entrance Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. will now be screened and enter at the staff entrance to the east of the main entrance. From Monday through Friday between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and on weekends, staff will still enter through the Cancer Center main entrance. This does not impact the other limited access points on the medical campus, which still remain available for staff to enter 24/7.
Q: As a faculty or staff member, can I use the Emergency Services entrances?
A: No, Emergency Services entrances are for patients only. Thank you for your cooperation.
Q: Are employees being screened upon entrance?
A: All employees are being screened upon entry to our buildings, as required by the order of the state. Screeners are asking three questions of patients, visitors, faculty and staff: if they have a fever; if they have a cough, and if they are experiencing shortness of breath. These screenings are critical to the safety of everyone, and to avoiding the spread of COVID-19. The expectation is for all employees to stop at the screening station and actively respond to these questions.
Q: With the weather warming up, is the courtyard open to walk around?
A: Yes. The courtyard entrances in University Hospital and University Hospital South have been opened for employees to access and enjoy the outdoors as the weather improves. The outer perimeter gates of the courtyard will remain secured 24/7. Employees are expected to continue wearing masks and maintain 6-feet social distancing practices within the courtyard area. DPSS will secure and monitor the courtyard at all times to ensure the safety of our employees.
Q: What about access to the medical school?
A: All exterior doors to the Medical School currently on a Monday – Friday lock/unlock schedule will be secured 24/7 until further notice. All occupants including staff, faculty, students and contractors will be able to access card read doors with a valid MCard. Please contact and manage your anticipated visitors prior to their arrival until further notice.
Q: As services ramp back up, what is the policy regarding elevators?
A: As we begin to see increasing numbers of people in the hospitals and clinics, it is important to observe social distancing on all elevators. To maintain an appropriate social distance, elevators should be limited to four people at a time. This may mean longer waits for elevators, especially during shift changes and other high traffic times. Please be prepared for this delay and maintain safe distancing while you wait in the elevator lobby. If you are able, you may want to consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Signage is currently being developed and will be posted in elevator lobbies to inform employees, patients and visitors of these new elevator capacity guidelines. As in all public spaces across the health system, mask use is required on elevators.
Logistics, parking and transportation
Q: What is the latest on parking and transportation?
A: Beginning Monday, June 8, all Medical Campus structures will be enforced with gates lowered during enforcement hours. This includes the Glen, Ann, Catherine and Wall St. structures, in addition to P1-P5, which are currently enforced. Permit enforcement in Medical Campus surface lots will remain suspended until Wednesday, July 1, as well as parking areas on North, Central and South campuses.
On July 1, parking permit enforcement will be restored for all parking areas on North, Medical, Central and South campuses. Parkers will be required to observe all parking control signs that indicate permits required and enforcement hours.
Individual parking spaces signed for 24/7 enforcement (such as Accessible, Gold, Service or Business Vehicle) or areas signed for 24/7 enforcement remain enforced at all times.
Patient/visitor parking: Patient/visitor parking on the medical center campus, including Wall Street, will remain enforced.
Q: Is street parking available for staff members?
A: The city of Ann Arbor is providing free street parking to Michigan Medicine staff. Effective immediately, enforcement of meter parking on streets in close proximity to the medical campus has been temporarily suspended. Ann Arbor leadership recognizes the overall crisis and unprecedented effort of the Michigan Medicine staff to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and keep our community safe.
Approximately 60 meters are now bagged with “special event” markings on the following streets:
- Ann Street: Glen to Observatory
- Zina Pitcher: Ann Street to Washtenaw/Huron curve
- Observatory: Ann Street to North University Court
- Washington Heights: Observatory to Mary Markley Hall (does not include spaces marked for Arboretum parking)
Q: Will shuttles and buses keep running at Michigan Medicine?
Michigan Medicine shuttles, university transit and other services will begin ramping up in the next few weeks:
- Emergency Ride Home, Ride Home, State Street Ride and Paratransit: These services will launch with provider Golden Limousine on June 1. Refer to the Logistics, Transportation & Parking website beginning June 1 for details and phone numbers.
- Michigan Medicine shuttles:
- Michigan Medicine Late Night Shuttles (currently operating) will transition to provider Golden Limousine on June 1.
- East Ann Arbor Employee Parking Shuttles will resume with the new provider on June 8.
- In early June, Indian Trails will return to provide additional service.
- University Transit: Summer schedule will begin July 1 and includes Commuter, Med Express, Crisler Express, North-East Shuttle, Wall Street and Northwood routes.
Q: Do I need to wear a mask on university buses?
A: In alignment with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order and guidance from the CDC, any individual able to medically tolerate one must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth — such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief — when in any enclosed public space.
University bus services are an enclosed public space, so Michigan Medicine is advising all riders to wear masks while on a bus and socially distance. Thank you for your cooperation.
Riders should note all the safety measures currently in effect:
- Use the rear doors to board and exit
- Use face coverings
- Practice social distancing while boarding and riding the bus
- Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces in buses takes place daily
Q: What steps are being taken in regard to food service?
A: Self-service food options like salad bars, fruit bars and soup have been eliminated from all retail food venues in the hospitals and health centers. The use of outside mugs has also been ended, so recyclable mugs or outside cups cannot be brought in and filled.
Q: Are hours remaining the same at retail food service locations? And do I need to wear a mask when in one?
A: Hours are being revised at some retail food service sites on campus. Click here to see the new hours, which are subject to change.
In alignment with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order and guidance from the CDC, any individual able to medically tolerate one must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth — such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief — when in any enclosed public space, including Michigan Medicine’s retail food facilities.
Q: Can I have packages delivered to my workplace?
A: Please eliminate deliveries to offices or workspaces from companies like Amazon or FedEx that are not related to patient care or Michigan Medicine business.
Please note, Human Resources has published a lengthy FAQs about the PTO offered in relation to COVID-19.
Q: On March 13, the University of Michigan announced the COVID-19 paid time-off (PTO) to all employees to provide support during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are the details of this paid time off bank?
A: Full-time employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid time off to be used in the case of quarantine, isolation, family care needs or lack of work related to COVID-19 illness or other related scenario. This is a one-time bank of paid time off for use during the current pandemic. Part-time and temporary employees, including student employees, will be eligible for a prorated amount.
Bargained-for staff should refer to their collective bargaining agreements or representative for information.
If you have a documented health condition and/or documentation from a health provider or health agency that requires you to quarantine or isolate during this time, you need to follow the standard process of opening a case with the HR Solutions Center Leave Management Team.
Q: What is the special 120-hour time-off work bank and who is eligible to use it?
A: The additional 120 hours, special-use PTO bank is for full-time employees who need to isolate as a result of contracting COVID-19 while providing direct care for confirmed COVID-19 patients. This special bank of time is prorated for part time and temporary employees. Employees are also eligible for the COVID-19 PTO bank of 80 paid-time off hours. Please consult with your supervisor or human resources representative if you have questions about eligibility.
Q: I need additional staffing in my area or have the bandwidth to assist other areas. Who can help manage that?
A: The HR Staffing Team has developed a new process to request additional staffing. If you have staff available to be redeployed to another assignment, please ask them to submit this form. If you or your department needs additional staffing support, contact the HR Staffing Team at 734-647-5798 or email at HR-Pandemic-Staff@med.umich.edu.
Q: Are medical students going to continue rounding?
A: No, medical students will not be rounding in the hospital, effective immediately.
Q: What is Michigan Medicine doing to prepare for more patients who test positive for COVID-19?
A: Symptom screening, as opposed to travel screening, is now in place to identify patients so that precautions can be taken immediately. Please note, all buttons and warning messages in MiChart that used to say travel screening now say symptom screening.
All visitors are being screened and those with risk factors for COVID-19 are not permitted to visit Michigan Medicine.
On top of that, the organization has identified ambulatory care and inpatient spaces where patients can be isolated in appropriate patient rooms set at negative pressure. Nursing staff will place the hospital-approved Special Pathogen Precautions sign (yellow) outside of the inpatient’s door.
Employees have also been reminded of proper training regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Q: How is Michigan Medicine managing hospital capacity?
A: The organization is proactively managing patient volume to limit impact to patients and maintain critical operation. This includes enhanced review for all admissions.
Michigan Medicine will be assessing whether elective procedures can be rescheduled as well as making discharges a priority. It is vital to appropriately use existing resources in planning for potential new patients.
Clinics and operating room staff will get direction from their supervisors on when and how this would impact their areas.
Q: What should I tell patients about this plan?
A: Patients should be reminded that the organization will attempt to accommodate their procedures as soon as possible, but during this time, Michigan Medicine is doing what it can to be prepared and minimize the risk of disease spread. The safety of patients and employees is the top priority.
Q: Are there plans in place to add beds within the organization?
A: General care will be expanded by utilizing spaces that can be used as inpatient beds.
Q: How are we supporting other health care organizations in the area?
A: We continue to support health systems in southeast Michigan; Beaumont Health, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center, Ascension Health, and others who have transferred patients with COVID-19 requiring critical care to our health system. Our centralized process for management of transfer requests facilitates prompt communication with our referring hospitals and acceptance of transfer requests.
Q: Are there new instructions that should be given to patients upon discharge?
A: Due to the frequent changes from the CDC in the care of patients, we have created specific patient instructions when discharging patients from ambulatory, emergency or inpatient settings. Please use these instructions moving forward in the discharge care for patients.
The language has been reviewed by a multidisciplinary group and vetted by IPE teams to ensure consistency with the CDC’s latest recommendations. The goal is to maintain a minimal number of documents that provide enough information for patients to care for themselves. Unusual circumstances will be handled with provider conversations and tailored instructions to the patient.
These documents will be reviewed and adjusted by IPE on a regular basis to match CDC recommendations.
To find the patient instructions in MiChart, please use the keywords covid umh.
Q: How is patient privacy being protected?
A: Please remember that patient confidentiality must be maintained. Accessing patient records to do your job (e.g., care for a patient) is appropriate, but accessing patient records out of curiosity is not appropriate and will result in disciplinary action.
Q: How are ambulatory care clinics being affected?
A: In order to limit exposure for patients, their families and staff, and redeploy staff as needed throughout the health system, several adjustments have been made at outpatient clinics. Please click here for specific consolidations and continued openings.
Non-essential appointments are being rescheduled, or, in many cases, turned into E-Visits or Video Visits. All clinics are still accessible by telephone. If patients have questions about appointments, they can call their clinic or send their provider team messages through the Patient Portal.
Q: Is there a phone number or hotline patients can call if they have symptoms, testing or management questions?
A: Michigan Medicine patients should call the COVID-19 Hotline for questions about symptoms, home management and specific steps to receive care or testing. The hotline is 734-763-6336, available 24/7.
Q: Can you talk about a second wave of COVID and how this is being incorporated into future planning?
A: There is much we cannot predict about the potential for a second wave but we know from other similar infections that there is a possible risk of a second wave. Our planning will thus include considerations for how we would have adequate surveillance and testing in place to detect a potential second wave early so we might be able to intervene early enough to limit it, as well as planning to ensure we could rapidly react to a second wave and have a plan to quickly create health system capacity to handle any second wave.
Q: Are we going to have separate units in the hospital for COVID+ patients?
A: We are considering how to safely and effectively care for both COVID and non-COVID patients. We have attempted to cohort COVID patients to some degree now. As we anticipate needing to provide ongoing care for COVID and non-COVID patients, our ability to meet the specific care needs of the patients will determine how completely we can cohort COVID+ patients.
Q: Will units start to reopen some elective services soon? If not, is there a projected date?
A: Our first priority will be to address patients whose care has been deferred during the peak of the pandemic. We are carefully increasing the number of time-sensitive operations and procedures, which have been deferred to reduce risk of harm to our patients. Some elective and ambulatory care visits will be dictated by the Governor’s Executive Order limiting mobility. This is in effect until April 30, but may be extended or revised. It is clear that social distancing has made a large impact in reducing spread of COVID-19. If there is loosening of social restrictions, we will need to be prepared for a potential increase in COVID-19.
Q: Therapies are going to be a significant part of these patients’ recovery (physical, occupational, speech therapy). Are therapists a part of the future planning process?
A: We have recognized that many patients, particularly those who have been severely ill, have significant debility and deconditioning. They will need therapy both in the hospital and after discharge. We have a team that has been asked to assess these patient needs and provide recommendations for how best to provide and coordinate these essential services as part of our overall COVID response planning.
Treatment and testing
Q: Is Michigan Medicine using hydroxychloroquine to treat or test treatment for COVID-19 patients?
A: Yes, Michigan Medicine is currently using and evaluating the efficacy of hydroxycholoroquine (Plaquenil). There are concerns that it may not be helping patients and that it has significant negative side effects; therefore, further assessment is ongoing.
Q: What is the direction on filling prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine? People with prescriptions (e.g. to treat autoimmune conditions) are being told they will not be filled.
A: LARA (Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) for the State of Michigan issued the following on March 24: “Pursuant to Michigan Administrative Code, R 338.490(2), a pharmacist shall not fill a prescription if the pharmacist believes the prescription will be used for other than legitimate medical purposes or if the prescription could cause harm to a patient.” Patients already on the medication for an autoimmune condition should continue to receive their scripts. Patients with concerns or questions should reach out to their prescribing physician.
Q: Is Michigan Medicine using serum therapy?
A: There are reports of some attempts to use the plasma of patients who may have antibodies to COVID-19 as a treatment for the infection. Michigan Medicine is not currently doing this, as there are significant potential risks and a limited ability to determine if someone has antibodies.
Q: Should Advil/ibuprofen/Motrin be taken if tested positive?
A: The data on NSAIDS like ibuprofen connected to COVID-19 is extremely limited. There are concerns that it could affect a patient’s response to the infection, but it is also important to treat the dangerously high fevers which occur with COVID-19. For that reason, the organization is using acetaminophen (Tylenol) as the first-line treatment for fever, but still using ibuprofen and other NSAIDS when that is not enough.
Q: Are all patients being tested for COVID-19?
A: For the safety of patients and staff, Michigan Medicine will begin proactively testing all patients admitted to our hospitals regardless of presence or absence of symptoms. In addition, during the week of May 4, we will begin testing for COVID-19 prior to procedures performed in our operating rooms or procedure areas.
Asymptomatic patients without exposure risk factors do not need to be placed in special pathogens precautions while awaiting COVID-19 test results.
Here are some resources with more information:
Inpatient Testing Toolkit
- Algorithm for Pre Admission COVID-19 Testing (4/29/20)
- COVID screening and testing information for patients (4/29/20)
- Health care worker Information regarding inpatient COVID testing (4/29/20)
Emergency Department Testing
Q: How will my patient get tested?
A: Each procedural area will be responsible for reviewing their upcoming schedule, contacting patients and ordering COVID-19 Drive Through testing which can be performed at whichever site the patient selects (Canton, Brighton or West Ann Arbor). The attending performing the procedure will receive a result in their inbox. We are asking that your patient get tested 48-96 hours before their procedure.
Q: What is the likelihood of a false negative COVID-19 test?
A: While no test is perfect, Michigan Medicine’s in-house assays perform well and are able to detect very low levels of the virus in samples (0.1-0.5 copies/ul). Most of the patients are strongly positive. The rare false negative may occur because of limited sample collection or because the patient is early in their disease.
Q: Can we use alternative speciman types, such as oral or nasal swabs?
A: At the moment, only nasopharyngeal swabs have been validated for diagnosis of COVID-19. We are working on validating oral or nasal specimens to show detection of virus.
Q: I heard there is a new 5-minute test. Are we looking into using that?
A: We currently have multiple assays with differing analysis and timing. This combination of tests allows us to have the capacity and turnaround times to meet our patients’ needs. We continue to evaluate new tests as they are developed to improve both turnaround time and capacity. We are not using the Abbott 5-minute test at this time.
Q: What is the status of antibody testing?
A: Currently, the Michigan Medicine laboratory is in the process of validating COVID-19 serology testing.
In the coming days, some employees who were previously tested for COVID-19 will have the opportunity to provide a blood sample for COVID-19 serology. In addition, some employees who currently have symptoms and are being tested for COVID-19 will be asked if they wish to voluntarily provide a blood sample at the time of initial testing for COVID-19 and again two weeks later.
Plans for more widespread COVID-19 serology testing for Michigan Medicine workforce members are under development and will be communicated in the future.
Q: Are there any changes to how we treat patients with VRE?
A: In order to conserve gowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC recommends that facilities consider suspending contact precautions for endemic multi-drug resistant infections such as vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE). Beginning Friday, April 3, patients identified to have VRE infection or colonization will NOT require contact precautions. Follow Standard Precautions for these patients. Units that currently screen for VRE colonization on admission, weekly and at discharge will continue to screen patients so that we can monitor for any changes in transmission.
Q: What are the guidelines regarding Aerosol-Generating Procedures (AGPs)?
A: The list of potential Aerosol-Generating Procedures (AGPs) has been revised based on recommendations of a multidisciplinary group including Infection Prevention and Epidemiology (IPE), Respiratory Therapy, and Pulmonary Medicine.
The Special Pathogens Precautions pale yellow signs have been updated to reflect these changes. AGP Stop Signs should still be posted and appropriate PPE guidance followed whenever these procedures are performed. Please contact IPE with any questions.
Q: Is RPAN testing available?
A: RPAN testing is now available at ambulatory sites. RPAN testing should be reserved for immunocompromised patients with viral respiratory symptoms for whom the results would impact clinical care. COVID-19 is not included in the RPAN order and must be ordered separately, but both RPAN and COVID-19 PCR testing can be performed using the same NP swab sample.
Q: Have other critical care guidelines changed?
A: Michigan Medicine has updated critical care guidelines in the following areas:
- Michigan Medicine COVID-19 Adult Critical Care Consensus Recommendations
- Policy and Protocol for obtaining Compression Duplex ultrasonography for diagnosis of VTE during the COVID?19 Pandemic
- COVID-19 Algorithm for PE Assessment
- COVID-19 Algorithm for DVT Assessment
- Overview of ARDS Ventilator Strategies for COVID-19
- Michigan Medicine Tracheostomy Guidelines in COVID-19 Era
- Use of Sedative, Analgesic and Neuromuscular Blocking Agents in the Intensive Care Unit During the Novel 2019 Coronavirus Pandemic – Michigan Medicine Guidelines
The new guidelines are posted at Critical Care Protocols for COVID-19 Patients.
Q: Is there temporary housing available to COVID-positive patients?
A: Michigan Medicine will provide temporary lodging for COVID-19 positive patients, and those patients who need quarantine due to COVID-19 following discharge. The process will mirror the existing patient lodging process and be run by the Patient and Visitor Accommodations Program (PVAP). Requests for temporary housing must be submitted by discharge planning, complex care management or social work. If you have a COVID-19 positive patient, please work with these groups to determine eligibility for temporary lodging. If you have any questions about patient or employee lodging, contact Alfreda Rooks at 734-645-1303 or email email@example.com.
Q: I’ve heard of a serology testing pilot. What are the details?
A: Michigan Medicine will be participating in the CDC SARS –CoV2 health care worker serology testing pilot. As part of a regional pilot program, specimen collection at Michigan Medicine will occur daily from May 26-June 1, between 5 a.m. and 2 a.m. The CDC has contracted Quest Diagnostics to manage the specimen collection, which will take place in the Taubman Blood Draw Station on Taubman Level 2. The pilot goal is for up to 3,000 Michigan Medicine select staff from the ED, OR, and ICU areas to participate. Team members eligible to participate will be contacted by their managers or department leaders. Staff will receive their results within 48 hours and Michigan Medicine will also receive aggregated results of its health care workers.
Q: Why aren’t all employees eligible for the serology testing pilot?
A: The large-scale serologic survey, or serosurvey, pilot is being conducted by the Detroit metro area health authorities Regions 2 South and 2 North, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Michigan Medicine was not involved in determining which front line workers could participate.
Those eligible include health care personnel whose primary workplace is the Emergency Department, OR and ICU. This includes all personnel who provide wraparound services such as x-ray, dietary, lab, environmental services, security, chaplains, and other supportive services necessary for daily operations.
If you think you qualify for this survey, contact your supervisor to receive registration information.
Q: Are we using Break the Glass for COVID-positive patients?
A: As of May 20, the automatic Break The Glass (BTG) feature will be enabled for all patients with suspected (infection status: R/O COVID) or confirmed (infection status: COVID positive) COVID-19 infection. BTG has been part of MiChart since 2017 and requires (1) choosing a reason from a list for accessing a chart, and (2) entering one’s Level 2 password upon entering a BTG chart. This takes approximately 10 seconds and protects both the patient and the MiChart user from accidental unauthorized access. If a clinician is on the patient’s treatment team or has the patient on his/her clinic schedule, the prompt will not appear. Additionally, once the reason and password are entered, the user will not be prompted to BTG on the same patient for 30 days.
BTG was initially enabled for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection in early March. However, given the extremely high numbers of patients for whom the prompt was appearing, the decision was made to disable BTG temporarily for this population in early April. Since the hospital COVID-19 census has dropped to approximately 50 patients (from a high of nearly 250), BTG will be reinstated.
Thank you for helping us protect our patients’ privacy and confidentiality in this challenging time.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Q: I work in a patient care facility. Do I need to wear a mask?
A: Yes. Given the widespread community transmission of COVID-19, and to better protect staff, masks are being provided to all employees working at all patient care sites. Masks will be distributed by security as employees enter facilities.
All health care workers should wear the same standard facemask (not N-95) continuously throughout their shift.
This universal mask plan accomplishes two goals:
- Protecting health care workers from exposure to infected patients who may be asymptomatic or have symptoms of COVID that have not yet been recognized.
- Protecting patients and staff from other health care workers who develop symptoms while at work.
Every health care worker has the responsibility for strict adherence to the following safety and conservation protocols:
- Hand hygiene: Should be performed before and after entering patient rooms.
- Proper mask use
- Before putting on the mask, perform hand hygiene
- Do not touch your face or mask after putting on the mask.
- The mask should cover your nose and mouth.
- The same mask should be worn constantly for the entire shift and not removed unless soiled or wet.
- Remove mask carefully, using the ear loops/ties and avoid touching the front of the mask.
- Perform hand hygiene after removing the mask.
EXCEPTIONS: Isolation masks should be discarded AFTER caring for a patient in Special Pathogens Precautions or Droplet Precautions.
If you feel that you are unable to wear a mask, please contact your supervisor for guidance.
For additional details for the use of masks in isolation rooms, click here.
Q: What about cloth masks?
A: Cloth masks are not permitted for patient-facing activities in clinical buildings, though workforce members may wear cloth masks when they are not involved in patient-facing activities. Those patient-facing activities include face-to-face interactions such as triage or check-in, providing a service in the patient room (such as EVS, tray delivery, maintenance in the patient room, and medication delivery in the patient room). Medical masks (with ear loop) will be used for patient-facing activities. All health care workers should wear the same standard facemask (not N-95) continuously throughout their shift, unless caring for a patient in Special Pathogens Precautions or Droplet Precautions. All visitors will be given a face mask or molded mask. For more detail, visit the Infection Prevention & Epidemiology page.
In non-clinical buildings, cloth masks or non-medical masks are acceptable. Workforce members are encouraged to wear a cloth mask from home. Masks may be removed when social distancing of at least six feet is possible (e.g., after entering a private office, or when barriers such as cubicles are in place). In order to ensure staff can take off masks for meals and breaks, scheduling and location for meals and breaks should ensure that at least a six-foot distance can be maintained when staff members need to remove their mask.
It is recommended that cloth masks be laundered daily, and bandanas are not permitted as masks.
Q: Why can’t nurses and other staff be issued an N-95 for use? What is the plan for sterilizing N-95s for later use?
A: Employee safety is the highest priority. Due to the limited supply of PPE in Michigan and across the country, PPE conservation is critical to maintain appropriate supplies for the duration of the pandemic. We are asking everyone’s efforts to preserve PPE by following IPE recommendations, which are determined by risk of transmission. Enhanced PPE is used in higher risk situations. More information here.
We are implementing limited reuse of N-95 masks in specific hospital areas.
Additionally, Michigan Medicine is developing a reprocessing procedure using heat and ultraviolet light for disinfection of N-95 masks that will allow safe prolonged reuse of an N-95 mask by the same health care worker. The reprocessing procedure should be used in addition to the practice of extended use and limited reuse of N-95 masks.
Q: Under what conditions do WHO and CDC recommend use of N95 masks and why?
A: N95 masks are only recommended for care of COVID-19 positive patients when these patients are undergoing aerosol-generating procedures. Both WHO and CDC recommend medical facemasks for health care workers caring for all other COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 is spread by droplet and contact transmission in most situations, for which a standard mask provides protection. Aerosol-generating procedures may create risk for airborne transmission; therefore, N95 masks are recommended during those procedures.
Q: What is the organization’s supply of N-95s and projected inventory?
A: The N-95 supply is constrained throughout the world. To extend its supply, Michigan Medicine is validating a process to reprocess N-95 masks, as well as procuring other types of N-95s that will be deployed with fit testing in several areas to support the demand.
Q: What are we doing to sanitize and reuse masks?
A: Central Supply Sterile Processing has developed a method for disinfecting N95 respirators using a combination of UV light and heat. Michigan Medicine researchers have studied these processes to ensure they are effective and do not damage masks.
Q: My mask has an odd odor after it is returned to me for reprocessing. What is causing that?
A: We believe that the smell may be coming from the rubber straps when they are heat-treated. We have heard it is worse for those who are using plastic containers instead of paper bags to store their masks. This may be related to the accumulation of moisture in the container. It is recommended to use the clean paper bags for mask storage.
Q: Is it ok to use plastic storage containers to store my reusable mask in?
A: We do not recommend that you use plastic containers to store reprocessed masks. Plastic containers may not allow N95s to dry out as stated above. Clean paper bags assure a clean storage space each time an N95 is used.
Paper bags are used as part of the N95 reprocessing process to support the high volume of mask reprocessing. A standard process for N95 reuse is important to ensure adequate training and keep the process highly reliable and safe.
Q: Where can I learn more about the process of sterilizing masks?
A: Learn more about the efforts of the Central Sterile Processing Department and how they are keeping our front lines safe in this short video.
Q: What can I do to prevent masks from being soiled?
A: We’ve had to discard multiple N95 masks due to soiling from make-up during fit-testing and reprocessing. In an effort to conserve as many masks as possible, please refrain from wearing make-up for fit-testing and or while working.
Q: Can I make/wear my own fabric mask?
A: The Joint Commission and the American Medical Association have issued statements regarding health care workers wearing their own PPE. Both organizations support this only when health care organizations cannot supply the necessary equipment for employees to protect themselves from risk of infection.
Because Michigan Medicine does have adequate supply of standard medical grade PPE that is safe, including adequate supplies of N95 masks, we will not permit use of equipment brought in from home. Personal masks brought from home cannot be guaranteed to meet the protection provided by hospital supplied masks. There are concerns that some sources of masks may be counterfeit or not meet protective standards. In addition, unless individual mask brands and models are fit tested, N-95 masks do not provide the appropriate level of respiratory protection. Please see the links below to support the decisions and policies for decision making to protect our employees from risk of infection.
- Joint Commission Statement on Use of Face Masks Brought From Home
- FAQs in Response to The Joint Commission’s Position Statement on Use of Face Masks Brought from Home
- AMA statement on health care workforce using their own PPE
Q: What else do i need to know about masks?
A: Everyone should wear a mask in public areas. This includes…
- All workforce members:
- Reminder for team rooms, conference rooms, break rooms, etc… If the room occupants can remain at least 6 feet away from each other, it is acceptable to remove mask. If a six-foot distance cannot be maintained, masks should be worn in these spaces.
- Limiting the number of people in these spaces to support social distancing is highly encouraged.
- All visitors
- All patients during transport unless they are unable to tolerate a mask
- Do not mask children under 2 years of age
- More information:
Q: Is there enough PPE on-hand at Michigan Medicine?
A: There is currently enough Personal Protection Equipment and the organization has not denied anyone proper PPE.
Michigan Medicine follows the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in terms of the PPE provided. These guidelines are based on research published in leading medical journals.
Q: Can I get training on proper use of PPE?
A: PPE training for the month of May will continue in the Towsley Center Lobby, but will now be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This training includes continuous demonstrations and Q & A.
Additionally, please take a few minutes to watch this video regarding PPE conservation.
Q: What are the latest PPE recommendations for operating and procedure rooms?
A: Updated information regarding best practices on PPE in operating and procedural rooms can be found at these links:
And click here for a video message on PPE for surgical and procedural care from Mark Prince, M.D., chair of the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.
Q: Can I be fit tested?
A: Due to changes in requirements from OSHA and to assist with conservation of N95 masks, Occupational Health Services (OHS) is suspending the annual fit testing program. If you have been fit tested in the past, you may continue to wear the same size mask when indicated.
Fit testing will remain available on a limited basis through OHS for workforce members who have not been fit tested previously and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Provide ICU level care (including RICU) to persons under investigation (PUIs) and patients with confirmed COVID-19
- Perform procedures that are aerosol-generating or cough-inducing as defined by Infection Prevention and Epidemiology
- Provide surgical care (in the operating room) to patients under investigation (PUIs) and patients with confirmed COVID-19
Q: Can something be done to help with skin irritation or breakouts from masks, especially behind the ears?
A: There are several strategies to help with irritation related to prolonged use of earloop masks. Health care workers can use topical barriers such as Vaseline at the sites of skin irritation. Some health care workers have also used elastic extenders between the loops instead of placing them behind their ears.
Q: What about dealing with pressure injuries?
A: Here are a few tips to help with pressure injuries associated with masks:
- Wash skin with a gentle cleanser prior to coming to work, and avoid use of cosmetics (makeup can also interfere with reprocessing of N95 masks).
- If a dressing is used, make sure it does not interfere with the seal of the mask.
- Treat abrasions from masks with moisturizer, skin sealant, tissue adhesive (e.g., Dermabond) or a thin dressing (do not apply skin sealant or tissue adhesive near the eyes or mouth).
Q: Can I reuse goggles and eye protection?
A: Due to potential shortage concerns, it is important to appropriately conserve supplies. Employees should follow the appropriate protocols to clean and reuse eye protection such as goggles and shields.
Q: Are there specific recommendations regarding attire for workforce members caring for patients with COVID-19?
A: The SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 is primarily spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. There are currently no data to support transmission via objects, although the virus can survive on surfaces such as plastic and steel. Porous surfaces such as clothing are less likely to harbor the virus for long periods of time. Additionally, clothing has not been associated with transmission of other respiratory viruses such as influenza. Finally, the PPE worn when encountering patients with suspected or proven COVID-19 includes gloves and a gown. Worn correctly, PPE prevents contamination of skin and clothing, and current evidence supports that use of appropriate PPE is highly effective at preventing transmission of the virus.
Based on this evidence, here are the recommendations regarding clothing worn at work:
- Those encountering patients with suspected or proven COVID-19 infection should wear the appropriate PPE.
- If your job requires the wearing of scrubs, you should continue to do so. Scrubs are not required in the care of those with suspected or proven COVID-19 infection. If you did not routinely wear scrubs as part of your work routine prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, you should not require scrubs now.
- Shoe covers and head coverings are not recommended PPE as transmission is via respiratory droplets and direct contact with infectious secretions.
- If workforce member clothing becomes soiled through exposure to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids, it should be changed and laundered.
Q: Are my street clothes or scrubs at risk of being contaminated?
A: If you are wearing appropriate PPE, your regular street clothing and/or scrubs should not be contaminated. Hospital-issued scrubs will not be available for all patient care workers. Goggles and face shields can be reused after being wiped clean with oxivir.
Q: Given a shortage in scrub supply, what are the organization’s recommendations?
A: Hospital-issued scrubs should be requested and worn only by those who work in environments that perform surgical procedures (all ORs, PACUs, CSPD/CERD, Labor and Delivery) and invasive procedural suites (MPU, CPU, IR (all locations), offsite endoscopy centers), the Pharmacy Clean Room and the Regional Infectious Containment Unit (RICU).
We ask that those who are wearing hospital-provided scrubs outside the areas noted above, please return these scrubs. We will provide bins at the employee entrances specific to scrub collection. If you have sets of hospital owned scrubs at home, we ask that you bring these in as well so they may be laundered and provided to employees who must have them to function in their role. We will no longer provide scrubs to employees outside the respective roles identified above.
Those who personally own their scrubs can continue to wear them and launder at home.
Q: Where can I learn more about PPE in the inpatient setting?
A: Safety Management Services, in conjunction with IPE, has created a website to offer even more guidance regarding PPE in the inpatient setting.
Q: What is the policy regarding Special Pathogens Precautions?
A: N-95/PAPRs should be used for all patients who require intubation regardless of symptoms or Special Pathogens Precautions unless they have had a negative COVID-19 test AND have no new concerning signs or symptoms since the time of testing. N-95/PAPRS should be used for emergent intubation of patients who develop new or progressive respiratory decompensation during hospitalization as these symptoms could be concerning for new infection.
Hospitalized patients who test positive for COVID-19 should remain in Special Pathogens Precautions until they have resolution of fever, clinical improvement of respiratory symptoms, and two negative nasopharyngeal swabs collected more than 24 hours apart (if not ventilated and without tracheostomy) or two negative NP swabs collected more than 24 hours apart plus a negative tracheal aspirate (if ventilated or s/p tracheostomy).
Q: What is the visitor policy?
A: To protect patients, faculty and staff during the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have suspended visiting in our hospitals and health centers. Limited exceptions will be made in the following areas: Pediatric inpatients, adult developmentally delayed inpatients, adult and pediatric inpatients at end of life, adult and pediatric inpatients at discharge, labor and delivery, outpatient surgery and procedures, outpatient clinics, all emergency departments.
These visitor policy restrictions have been updated to include:
- Adult primary caregivers of pediatric patients with prolonged inpatient admissions can be allowed to switch out at one week intervals to facilitate appropriate support throughout the patient’s admission.
- During labor, a COVID-19 positive patient may have one support person.
The complete policy can be accessed here.
Q: When will the policy be revisited and/or changed?
A: Though the number of patients with COVID-19 is in decline, we are still required to implement our Revised Visitor Policy. This policy is currently under review, and will be updated as the situation changes and the governor’s directive is clarified. Please continue to follow the policy as it outlines the number of visitors or companions allowed on all hospital and clinic premises, and please note that it is still not safe to allow visitors to gather in waiting rooms, etc.
Q: Who will initiate conversations about visitor limitations?
A: Front-line staff/attending teams will conduct initial compassionate conversation about visit limitations – and can make exceptions to the policy for extenuating circumstances by consulting local clinic/unit leadership. For assistance:
- Children and Women’s visitation exception requests: Send an email request to Luanne Ewald (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), Jesus Cepero (email@example.com) and Kelly Baird-Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- All others can go through the normal operations chain of command (local leader, house manager, Administrator on call, etc.)
We understand these are unusual circumstances and that these actions cause hardship for our patients. However, our top priority is the safety of our patients and of our staff. We believe these efforts will reduce chances of infection spreading. We will continue to evolve these guidelines as the situation changes. Thank you so much for taking exceptional care of our patients, families and each other.
As always, if patients or visitor(s) are exhibiting concerning/aggressive behavior, call 734-763-1131.
Q: How can we offer visitors support?
A: Visitors can be offered support through the following resources:
- Spiritual Care/emotional support: 734-936-4041. For urgent consults or after-hours requests, call operator at 734-936-4000 and request the chaplain on call be paged.
- Virtual visits: Connecting family members to their loved one through regular phone/video connections, supported by staff.
- Social Work: Call 734-764-6893 or email SocWk-Gapstaff@med.umich.edu
Q: Do patients and visitors have to wear a mask? If so, can it be their own masks?
A: Yes. Ambulatory patients and inpatient visitors who come to our facilities and are asymptomatic are permitted to wear their own masks. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s revised stay at home order, effective April 27, mandates that Michiganders wear masks in public enclosed spaces. Therefore, it is likely visitors will be wearing masks when they arrive at our buildings.
Q: Do visitors need to wear masks when in patient rooms?
A: Family members and visitors are required to wear a mask in a patient room when in the presence of health care workers.
Workforce and potential exposure questions
Q: Has OHS changed its visit protocols?
A: Occupational Health Services will be triaging all visits through the main phone number: 734-764-8021. Hours of operation for normal business will be available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Phone lines will be available 24 hours/7 days per week for employees who are sick and/or have questions related to COVID-19.
Effective immediately, please contact OHS by phone for the following:
- If you are sick and/or have questions related to COVID-19, please DO NOT visit OHS. Call OHS and select prompt 1.
- If you are sick and your condition is NOT a medical emergency, please contact OHS and avoid using the Emergency Department. If your condition IS a medical emergency, please go to the closest emergency department.
- For fit testing, call OHS between the hours of 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please call to schedule a visit.
- For acute work related injuries, call OHS between the hours of 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- If you have an occupational health need and are unsure how to proceed, call OHS.
Q: Should I monitor myself for COVID-19 symptoms?
A: In the context of sustained community transmission of COVID-19, all health care personnel are at risk for unrecognized exposures. Therefore, ALL health care personnel should self- monitor for fever with twice-daily temperature measurements and for symptoms consistent with COVID-19:
- For fever (temperature >100.4F or 38C)
- Shortness of breath
- Upper respiratory symptoms: runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Loss of sense of smell
Q: What are the latest travel recommendations for Michigan Medicine workforce members?
A: The University of Michigan has suspended all university-related international travel indefinitely. Domestic business travel and all personal travel are discouraged.
There are no work restrictions for workforce members with recent travel.
Q: What should I do if I am exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19 at work or in the community?
A: There are no longer any work restrictions for workforce members following an exposure to COVID-19 at work or in the community. Workforce members may continue to work following an exposure and should monitor for symptoms.
Infection Prevention & Epidemiology (IPE) will continue to facilitate notification of workforce members who have been exposed to a patient with confirmed COVID-19. Workforce members who are concerned about an exposure may contact Occupational Health Services (OHS) for guidance.
Q: I have been told to self-isolate following exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19. What does this mean?
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance on self-isolation for patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html:
Patients with COVID-19 who were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
- At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
In addition, Michigan Medicine is advising patients who are immunocompromised to self-isolate for 14 days following onset of symptoms. Patient education materials regarding self-isolation can be found at: http://pteducation.med.umich.edu/covid-19
Michigan Medicine employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are also advised to remain off work while in self-isolation and may return to work after that point.
Please note that this guidance applies only to patients who are at home. Guidance regarding isolation of Michigan Medicine COVID-19 patients in inpatient and ambulatory settings can be found at: http://www.med.umich.edu/i/ice/resources/coronavirus/WorkflowForNegativeCOVID.pdf. Patients with COVID-19 who require care in ambulatory settings will be managed in Special Pathogens Precautions for 21 days following initial diagnosis or hospital discharge.
Q: What should I do if I was previously placed off work following travel or a COVID-19 exposure?
A: As long as you are not having symptoms, you may return to work at this time.
Q: What should I do if I have contact with someone who is being tested for COVID-19 at work or in the community?
A: As long as you are not having symptoms, you may continue to work.
Q: What should I do if I have contact with someone with symptoms of a respiratory infection (not confirmed as COVID-19) at work or in the community?
A: As long as you are not having symptoms, you may continue to work.
Q: What should I do if I had contact with someone who had no symptoms at the time but was later diagnosed with COVID-19?
A: If the individual had no symptoms at the time you had contact with them, the risk of transmission is very low. You may continue to work and should monitor for symptoms.
Q: What should I do if I have contact with someone who was exposed to an individual with confirmed COVID-19?
A: As long as you are not having symptoms, you may continue to work.
Q: What symptoms should I monitor for following exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19?
A: The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. On average, symptoms occur 5 days following exposure, but can occur from 2-14 days following exposure.
Other possible symptoms include chills, headache, body aches, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms are not specific to COVID-19 and can occur with other viral respiratory infections (e.g., influenza).
Q: What should I do if I become ill?
A: If you become ill following exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19, you should not come to work and should contact OHS and your physician.
Otherwise, you should follow established guidance for Michigan Medicine workforce members with presumed viral respiratory infections:
- For fever (temperature >100.4F or 38C) and upper respiratory infection (nasal congestion, sore throat, cough)
- OR laboratory-confirmed influenza
- OR influenza-like illness (upper respiratory infection plus chills, headache, or myalgia) with or without fever
- Remain off work until fever and other symptoms have resolved for 24 hours without use of medication
- For upper respiratory infection without fever or cough:
- You may continue to work but should wear a mask during patient contact
Unless you had an exposure to an individual with confirmed COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you do not need to be cleared by OHS to return to work following illness.
For additional information about work restrictions for workforce members with infectious diseases, please refer to the UMHS Infection Prevention work restrictions policy: https://michmed-clinical.policystat.com/policy/7415053/latest/
Q: How can I be tested for COVID-19?
A: Testing is currently available at select Michigan Medicine ambulatory locations by calling the COVID-19 hotline for Michigan Medicine patients at 734-763-6336.
Q: What if I get tested at another health care organization?
A: Employees who undergo testing for COVID-19 at a non-Michigan Medicine location should contact OHS at 734-764-8021 to report their test results and receive recommendations about returning to work.
Q: What should I do if I am waiting for my COVID-19 test result?
A: You should self-isolate and not come to work until the test result is available. If the test result is negative, you may return to work per the work restrictions policy referenced above in consultation with OHS.
Q: What should I do if I am ill but do not meet criteria for COVID-19 testing or have a negative test?
A: You should follow established guidance for Michigan Medicine workforce members:
- For fever (temperature >100.4F or 38C) and upper respiratory infection (nasal congestion, sore throat, cough)
- OR laboratory-confirmed influenza
- OR influenza-like illness (upper respiratory infection plus chills, headache, or myalgia) with or without fever
- Remain off work until fever and other symptoms have resolved for 24 hours without use of medication
- For upper respiratory infection without fever or cough:
- You may continue to work but should wear a mask during patient contact
- Workforce members with acute diarrhea should not work in patient care or food handling areas until symptoms resolve.
- For additional information about work restrictions due to illness, please refer to the UMHS Infection Prevention work restrictions policy: https://michmed-clinical.policystat.com/policy/7415053/latest/
Q: What should I do if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?
A: If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should contact OHS and stay at home unless you require medical attention. You must be cleared to return to work by OHS in consultation with the local health department.
Recommendations about how to prevent transmission to others can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
Workforce members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 should remain off work until:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
- At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
- Cleared to return to work by OHS
After return to work:
- Wear a mask at all times while in the healthcare facility until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer
- Be restricted from contact with severely immunocompromised patients (e.g., transplant, hematology-oncology) until 14 days after illness onset
- Adhere to hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette in CDC’s interim infection control guidance (e.g., cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, dispose of tissues in waste receptacles)
- Self-monitor for symptoms, and seek re-evaluation from OHS if respiratory symptoms recur or worsen
Q: How can I protect myself from exposure to COVID-19 at work?
A: You should follow recommendations from IPE for appropriate use of personal protective equipment and practice hand hygiene regularly.
Updated recommendations can be found at: http://www.med.umich.edu/i/ice/resources/coronavirus.html
Q: Should I care for patients who are being tested for COVID-19 or who have confirmed COVID-19 if I am pregnant or have an underlying medical condition?
A: Workforce members caring for patients who are being tested for COVID-19 or who have confirmed COVID-19 should not:
- Be pregnant
- Be breastfeeding
- Be immunocompromised
- Persons with primary or acquired immunodeficiency
- Persons on anti-rejection therapy following solid organ transplant or bone marrow transplant
- Persons on biologic therapeutic agents such as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.
- Persons with malignancy and ongoing or recent chemotherapy
- Persons receiving systemic immunosuppressive therapy, including corticosteroids equivalent to 20 mg/day of prednisone for 2 weeks
- Be 70 years of age or older
- Be unable to wear an N95 mask or powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) if indicated
- Be unable to don and doff personal protective equipment safely
Workforce members with the above conditions may continue to provide care for patients with respiratory illness who are not being tested for COVID-19.
Q: As a health care worker, how can I protect others living in my home from exposure to COVID-19?
A: Please follow the guidance available here from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes steps to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home if you are sick.
Q: Are resources available to help me manage my mental health, stress levels or other needs?
A: Yes. During this time of heightened stress, Michigan Medicine has created a COVID-19 Stress Response Team to offer support and consultation. The team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 734-763-5409.
The COVID-19 Employee Support Team is providing support across the institution for all of our team members, including coordination of food donations. Please use this team to centralize requests for any needs by calling the phone number above.
Q: Are there alternative mental health services?
A: Members of the Michigan Medicine community have a free text counseling service at their fingertips any time, day or night. Crisis Text Line® provides access to free, 24/7 support via a medium that most people use and trust: texting.
By texting “UMICH” to 741741, participants will connect to a trained crisis counselor, who will introduce themselves, reflect on what you’ve typed and invite you to share at your own pace. Counselors are volunteers who are there for support, and to help you sort through your feelings by asking questions, empathizing, and actively listening. You need not be in crisis to use this service for support.
All text conversations are private and secure, with a goal of getting the texter to a calm, safe place. Counselors may also offer a referral for further help. Please note that HIPAA compliance policies apply and patient information should not be included in any of your texts.
Q: What should I do if an employee under my supervision or co-worker is diagnosed with COVID-19?
A: First, remember that the employee will appreciate hearing your support while they recover from the illness. You should clarify whether they have received any specific guidance from Occupational Health Services related to others in the workplace. Next, you can anticipate that other employees may have heard about, or suspect that, someone is out sick with the COVID-19 related illness. They may understandably have concern for the colleague as well as concern over a potential exposure risk to themselves or others.
You may acknowledge that there is an individual in the unit who has tested positive for COVID-19 without identifying the individual. Please reach out to your Human Resource business partner for letter templates. If you are in a health care setting, additional requirements to assess risk may apply, and you should follow OHS reporting procedures. Employees may continue to work if they are asymptomatic.
Supervisors looking for guidance on whether additional cleaning is necessary in the space may contact the Facilities Service Center at: EHS-Covid-19-Reporting@umich.edu. Michigan Medicine health care entities can contact the Michigan Medicine C-L-E-A-N line (734-23CLEAN).
Q: How does the organization plan on recovering from financial losses related to COVID-19?
A: Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., Michigan Medicine CEO, has also instituted a Michigan Medicine Economic Recovery Plan to help mitigate revenue losses due to the pandemic. Learn more about how you can help support a financial turnaround by reading the latest Economic Recovery Plan FAQs.
Q: Are there CME options available related to COVID-19?
A: The CME office has created a new landing page for online CME offerings related to COVID, including one from Anesthesiology and the two that our RICU hospitalists created that are featured on our Michigan Health Lab blog. You can see the landing page here.
The CME team is actively working with departments and divisions to identify additional presentations and materials that can be offered for free online viewing by anyone.
Q: As a front-line employee, can I get assistance with laundry or dry cleaning services?
A: To support employees who are spending long hours at the hospital, Michigan Medicine has identified local laundry and dry cleaning services that are able to pick-up and deliver laundry at employees’ homes or near Michigan Medicine.
Please contact the service that is most convenient for you. There is no charge for the pick-up or delivery, only for the laundry/cleaning services.
Iris Dry Cleaners
- 2268 S. Main St., Ann Arbor,
- To schedule, call Jay: 616-990-7991
- Locations around Ann Arbor
- To schedule, call Jin: 734-239-4319
Martinizing of Ann Arbor
- Multiple locations (Plymouth Rd, Stadium and Packard)
- To schedule, call: 734-637-4757
Q: Stores are out of stock on cleaning supplies. Are there resources for employees to get cleaning supplies?
A: Michigan Medicine does not have a way to provide employees with personal cleaning supplies. Employees may refer to CDC guidance available here about disinfectants that can be used in the home setting. This includes a list of products that are approved for use against the COVID-19 virus and directions to prepare bleach solutions.
Q: Can I donate blood to help?
A: There is a crucial need for blood donations. Donations have plummeted and organizations have canceled blood drives. Appointments can be scheduled at redcross.org.
Q: What is appropriate for me to share on social media?
A: There is a vast network of employees on social media, and while all efforts to spread knowledge and awareness during this uncertain time are appreciated, please allow the Michigan Medicine official channels to take the lead on the most pressing messages.
Exercise caution in the sharing of conversations and emails that are intended for a small or internal Michigan Medicine audience rather than a much larger social media world. Protecting patient privacy is a top priority at Michigan Medicine, and the organization must avoid inadvertent disclosures via selfies or other photos on social media.
Michigan Medicine’s social media policy can be accessed here.
The public is hungry for information, and the Michigan Medicine social media channels are used to strategically share these messages. All messaging through these central channels is suitable for sharing.
Q: When will the field hospital open? Or will it at all?
A: Plans to open a field hospital at the South Athletics Facility are on hold. It appears from current COVID-19 cases and modeling that the curve is significantly flattening. With this information it is not clear if the field hospital will be required or when it would be needed. The team continues to complete preparations to be able to activate if needed.
We are in communication with state officials to coordinate and determine future need. Our ongoing focus is on our current capacity and readiness to serve patients in our existing hospital facilities.
If a field hospital is opened …
Q: How can volunteers help? What is the process to volunteer?
A: We are in the midst of assessing the staffing resources needed, both clinical and non-clinical, for the field hospital. Clinical department chairs have already surveyed their faculty and we now have that physician registry. A similar exercise is underway for nursing and other departments. Non-clinical individuals who are interested in volunteering at the field hospital and have relevant experience in support services for hospitals may send a message to: HR-Pandemic-Staff@med.umich.edu.
Q: What is the plan to transport patients to the field hospital from UH?
A: Leaders from the Survival Flight team, Care Management and others in Michigan Medicine are working with Huron Valley Ambulance (HVA) on the plans to support the safe transport of patients to the field hospital.
Q: Is there a plan for radiology in the field hospital?
A: We are currently planning for portable x-ray and ultrasound onsite. Radiology Department leadership is working on the implementation plan.
Q: What is the nurse staffing model in the field hospital?
A: Nursing leadership is working on the staffing model, and will be refining it as we better understand what resources are available internally and otherwise. We continue to need all hands on deck!
Q: Will there be general rehab for patients who can’t go home yet?
A: Yes, we anticipate having bedside rehab for patients at the field hospital.
Q: Will central services (PFANS, EVS) also supply the field hospital?
A: This is being evaluated, and we will know more after meeting with the Army Corp of Engineers this week and understanding what manpower could be provided through FEMA.
Q: Is temporary housing available to employees? And if so, who is eligible?
A: Yes, employees who must quarantine/self-isolate due to exposure or contamination of COVID-19 are eligible.
Q: How do employees request lodging assistance?
A: If an employee working directly with COVID-19 patients believes they may need to be quarantined, they should contact Occupational Health Services at 734-764-8021. If temporary housing is considered as a needed benefit, OHS will direct them to the temporary housing team.
Q: Where are the lodging accommodations located and what’s included?
A: Lodgings include on-campus and commercial locations, and placement will be determined by the COVID Temporary Housing Team. Amenities will vary based on site, and information will be provided upon assignment. If you have special requests, please request them at the time of booking.
Q: Are employees paying for lodging?
A: Employees who have followed the process to request lodging (first contacting Occupational Health Services with a follow up to the temporary housing team) will have their room paid for. Those who seek lodging outside of this process will be responsible for self-payment.
Q: How long does it take for a housing assignment once the form is submitted?
A: Confirmation of a reservations assignment will be returned within two to four hours after the request is made. This may be longer based on volume. The reservation office will be open every day from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Q: How long can employees stay in the temporary housing?
A: Temporary lodging is available for up to 14 days for employees requiring quarantine due to a positive test. An extension may be requested if the employee continues to test positive following the 14 days.
Q: Are employees responsible for incidental expenses?
A: Yes. Incidental expenses (e.g. food) are the employee’s responsibility.
Q: Can I be placed at the same location as my co-workers?
A: Lodging will be assigned based on availability and cannot be grouped.
Q: Are my family members allowed to visit me in the hotel?
A: No, the purpose for this program is to provide our employees with a safe place to stay who may have immunocompromised family members at home or need to self-isolate; all to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Q: How does ambulatory care plan on resuming operations?
A: Ambulatory services (clinic, procedures, diagnostics etc.) will be phased in through four Tiers (3-week cycles) as noted below. Please note – the timeline may shift if Stay at Home orders are extended.
- Tier 1: (Current state) Urgent patients are managed as we respond to the COVID-19 surge. Elective care is deferred.
- Tier 2: (May 4 – 22) We identify and bring back patients with significant medical needs where further deferral carries a greater risk compared to their COVID-19 exposure risk. Some, non-urgent surgeries, medical procedures and diagnostic tests are performed, with numbers limited by PPE and testing limitations.
- Tier 3: (May 25 – June 12) Patients with next level of acuity are scheduled.
- Tier 4: (June 15 – TBD) Transition into the new normal state, emphasizing virtual care as a default visit type, constrict our facility footprint and remain prepared for a second COVID-19 wave.
We anticipate moving into the Tier 2 Phase on May 4. Currently, most providers have full schedule grids, with many patients scheduled in clinic locations that are still closed. We need all providers to complete the survey distributed by UMMG that categorizes patients as urgent, virtual or deferred by Monday, April 27. This will allow us to open schedules and backfill them with Tier 2 patients.
Facilities and Clinic Locations: There will be no expansion of clinic sites in Tier 2, and providers will continue to practice where they currently practice. There will be an ongoing analysis of future clinical service line locations as well as changes where practices eventually land may be changed. Clinics will also follow directives from health system leadership, moving to a revised care delivery model which includes extended hours and a 6- or 7-day/week in order to efficiently utilize our existing facilities.
ORs, Medical Procedures and Diagnostics: Brighton Center for Specialty Care will re-activate some ORs and medical procedure units in early May, allowing Tier 2 patients needing procedures can be accommodated. Strict standards will be established to prioritize patients and match volumes with our testing and PPE capacity. Locations of diagnostic capabilities (radiology, phlebotomy, other diagnostic procedures) will also be coordinated.
Virtual Care: Michigan Medicine is committed to maximizing virtual care going forward, and all clinical service lines are to adopt a virtual-first practice model. This will be our standard going forward.
Q: As we ramp up, will health care workers be tested for antibodies before they get back to in-person visits?
A: No. A serum antibody test will not be available in sufficient quantities by early May to permit testing of health care workers before they return to seeing patients in-person.
Q: Where can I learn more information?
A: You can find a lot of information regarding university policies on this U-M website. Additionally, Michigan Medicine’s Department of Infection Prevention & Epidemiology has set up a page with a number of valuable resources for employees, ranging from clinical and ambulatory guidelines to weekly updates.
Michigan Medicine Headlines is also regularly publishing information and has set up a specific page that compiles all COVID-19 communications.
If you still can’t find what you’re looking for on these web pages, please email email@example.com and your question will be answered as quickly as possible.