COVID-19 patient being treated at Michigan Medicine

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 11:42am

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Sarah Kunkel/Daily

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the cancellation of all summer study abroad programs on Thursday afternoon. All spring study abroad programs were canceled Wednesday afternoon.

One of the two people confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state of Michigan by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday night is an inpatient at Michigan Medicine, according to an update from Michigan Medicine.

Whitmer declared a state of emergency Tuesday evening in a press conference. According to Whitmer, one individual is a woman from Oakland County who has recently traveled internationally, while the other is a man in Wayne County who has a recent history of domestic travel. Both are middle-aged. 

Michigan Medicine CEO Marschall Runge said Michigan Medicine had been anticipating treating cases of COVID-19 if they occurred.

“For weeks, Michigan Medicine teams have been preparing to care for patients infected with COVID-19 if the need arises,” Runge wrote. “Our teams will take all necessary precautions to triage patients appropriately and prevent the spread of the virus.” 

In an email to The Daily, Mary Masson, Michigan Medicine director of public relations, wrote that she cannot share any further information to protect the patient's privacy, but noted Michigan Medicine is confident it has minimized the risk of exposure for employees and visitors.

According to the statement, the patient has been isolated and the necessary precautions are being taken. The patient is in stable condition.

“We are confident that we have used proper precautions with this patient who was carefully isolated to minimize the risk of exposure to our employees and patients,” the statement reads. 

The statement said the risk is low for employees and visitors, regardless of proximity to where the patient is located or whether individuals have been in the hospital recently. The statement noted risk is considered high for those without protective equipment with prolonged exposure to someone with symptoms.

Additionally, the statement noted Michigan Medicine is monitoring the “rapidly evolving” situation with state and local public health officials. Michigan Medicine has been monitoring the supply of “crucial” items such as masks, hand sanitizer and other protective equipment and has been placing orders for additional quantities, the statement said. 

In an email sent to Michigan Medicine volunteers Wednesday afternoon, Loulie Meynard, Volunteer Services director, advised volunteers not to come in for their scheduled shifts and all absences  starting from March 8 will not be counted in volunteers' records. While Meynard said Michigan Medicine is not saying volunteers may not come in, she noted that directive is expected to come soon.

On Wednesday afternoon, University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced a two-day cancellation of classes. On Monday, classes will resume online until the end of the semester. Spring and summer study abroad programs have been canceled. 

Michigan State University announced Wednesday morning that all in-person classes will be moved online through April 20. With the move, MSU joined schools including Harvard UniversityIndiana University and the University of Toledo who have altered in-person education in response to COVID-19.

Managing News Editor Sayali Amin can be reached at sayalia@umich.edu. Daily News Editors Claire Hao and Alex Harring can be reached at cmhao@umich.edu and harring@umich.edu.