It probably feels as if coronavirus
– or as it is officially known, COVID-19 – is all anyone is talking about these
days. As COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses like the seasonal flu
continue to spread across the U.S., you may feel a certain level of concern
over how this disease could affect you or your loved ones, or if your local
healthcare provider is prepared to respond to any local cases that may arise.
That’s certainly understandable and natural. We want to provide you with
essential information outlining what we are doing to stay prepared and offer
you guidance on what you can do to help protect yourself, your family and our
WHAT WE ARE DOING
UP Health System is committed to
providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients,
employees, providers, volunteers and visitors always. While COVID-19 is new,
effectively responding to other infectious diseases is not. We have tested processes
and plans in place to respond to situations involving infectious disease
year-round. Here is what we are doing to stay ready and effectively respond to
We continue to work closely with the Western
Upper Peninsula Health Department and the Marquette County Health Department
and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
to ensure that we are prepared with appropriate plans to detect, protect and
respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to COVID-19.
We have a robust emergency operation plan in
place and are reviewing and proactively completing a number of preparation
checklists out of an abundance of caution.
We have hand hygiene products easily available
throughout our facilities.
We are screening patients in our emergency
department, inpatient units and outpatient clinics based on CDC guidance.
Staff treating a potential COVID-19 case are
provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to help
Patients with respiratory or COVID-19-related
symptoms are immediately provided masks to wear to help prevent exposure to
In the event that we identify a potential
COVID-19 case, we will follow all CDC and state guidelines for specimen and for
placing that individual in isolation for their care and for the protection of
other patients, employees, and visitors.
Effective immediately and continuing through
April 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all health care facilities must prohibit from
entering their facilities any visitors that:
Are not necessary for the provision of medical
care, the support of activities of daily living, or the exercise of power of
attorney or court-appointed guardianship for an individual under the facility’s
Are not a parent, foster parent, or guardian of
an individual who is 21 years of age or under who is under the facility’s care;
Are not visiting an individual under the
facility’s care that is in serious or critical condition or in hospice care;
And are not visiting under exigent circumstances
or for the purpose of performing official government functions.
Effective immediately and continuing through April
5, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all health care facilities must perform a health evaluation
of all individuals that are not under the care of the facility each time the
individual seeks to enter the facility and must deny entry to those individuals
who do not meet the evaluation criteria. The evaluation criteria include:
Symptoms of a respiratory infection such as
fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat.
Contact in the last 14 days with someone with a
confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
CLOSURES | UP HEALTH
The main entrance to the hospital is open from 5 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday
The Emergency Department entrance is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
The Gift Well Gift Shop is closed until further notice
Coffee for a Cause will only be open for employees
The Baraga Bistro Café will only be open for employees
These measures are in place to protect our facility and our
community. Please know that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained
and prepared to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, including COVID-19,
seasonal flu, and other respiratory illnesses.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
It’s easy to feel helpless when faced with a
barrage of news reports and social media updates regarding COVID-19. The good
news is that there are some key steps you can take to help protect you and your
loved ones and help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Staying home when you are sick
Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your phone, computer, remote controls and doorknobs
Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available (Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty)
Practicing social distancing behaviors, including working from home, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travel, and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE
First and foremost –
if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to
the Emergency Room. If possible, notify the dispatch agent that your emergency
involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19.
For non-emergency needs, if you
need medical attention due to respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough,
shortness of breath) and plan to visit our hospital, your primary care provider
or an urgent clinic, please call ahead before you go and let them know that
you are experiencing symptoms that may possibly be related to COVID-19.
This will allow providers to properly prepare for your visit and take the
necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.
Please be reassured that our number one priority is the health and well-being of our community – and that includes you. We are prepared to manage an outbreak of respiratory illness, and we encourage you to follow the guidance above and stay tuned to updates from the CDC to help protect you and your loved ones. Keeping our community healthy is a community effort, and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our community healthy today and for generations to come.
We want to reassure our communities that it is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care. We stand ready to serve you.
For more information and to stay
abreast of the latest updates on COVID-19, you can visit the websites of UPHS –
Bell, Marquette, and Portage, and www.cdc.gov.