Updates to COVID-19 strategies

October 31, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Michigan Medicine adopted several strategies to mitigate exposure to the virus in order to keep faculty, staff, learners, and patients and their families, safe.

While COVID-19 continues to impact health care around the world, the organization is seeing favorable changes in our patient numbers, as well as improving vaccination rates, that are allowing it to alter some of these strategies, many of which have been in place since early 2020.

The goal of these changes is to ensure that faculty, staff and learners can continue to provide safe care to patients while moving forward with “normalizing” COVID-19 in a manner that maintains safe practices in health care that are protective of the most vulnerable.

The following changes will be implemented on Nov. 1, with the exception of changes to pre-procedure testing, which will take several weeks to operationalize. These strategies are subject to change as the situation warrants:

Masking

  • Workforce members in U-M Health patient care areas must continue to wear masks in areas where patients may be present.
  • Masks are optional in non-clinical medical school buildings.
  • When the CDC COVID-19 Community Level in our area is high, masks are highly recommended in all spaces; however, in designated areas where patients do not have access, masking will be optional for workforce members.
  • The Department of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology is closely monitoring clusters and will reinstitute masking, as needed, for outbreak control.

Weekly COVID-19 testing

  • Due to current vaccine breakthrough data, workforce members who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines will no longer need to be tested weekly. 

Entrance screening

Active screening of workforce members by attendants at U-M Health entrances will be discontinued. Please wear your U-M badge so the screeners can delineate between patient/guest and employee/learner.

Workforce members are advised to fill out the ResponsiBLUE survey and follow up with Occupational Health Services if they have concerning symptoms. 

  • Screening of patients and visitors at U-M Health entrances will continue.
    • Capacity for waiting rooms can increase as deemed appropriate by teams in specific areas. The process in place for symptom screening as an alternate pathway for potentially infectious patients, as well as masking requirements, are strategies to mitigate exposure risks.

Visitors

  • Patients in the adult hospitals will be permitted two visitors at a time. This includes inpatients and those coming for a procedure, outpatient visit, or lab/radiology work. This excludes Adult Emergency Services, which will continue to allow one visitor per patient. The updated visitor policy can be found in PolicyStat.
  • Masks are still required for all U-M Health visitors.

Pre-procedure Testing

  • Our clinical PPE model (N95 and eye protection for all aerosol generating procedures) has been protective, regardless of patient COVID-19 status.
  • Pre-procedure COVID-19 testing within 96 hours of patient procedures will no longer be required. This will likely roll out later in November.
    • Testing can be ordered if clinically relevant (i.e., anticipated poor outcome in patient if procedure is performed on a COIVD-19 positive patient)
  • Testing will continue upon arrival to inform appropriate placement for all admissions. 

Teams will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and update strategies as appropriate.  

An FAQ document is available online. Thank you for your vigilance and flexibility, and for your contributions to patient care, education and research!

RELATED STORIES