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What to do if you think you have COVID-19 in Isabella County


The sun breaks through the clouds March 15 at MidMichigan Health.

With the increase of coronavirus cases in Michigan, local hospitals are preparing for virus testing and patients. 

Mid-Michigan Medical Center-Mount Pleasant and McLaren Central Michigan have made preparations and created protocols for testing and dealing with potential coronavirus patients.

The hospitals will be introducing triages for handling potential coronavirus cases and are adjusting visiting restrictions based on an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. These limitations were created to try to prevent exposure to other people within the hospitals.

MidMichigan Mount Pleasant is recommending people not come to the emergency room if they have coronavirus symptoms. Lydia Watson, Chief Medical Officer at Mid-Michigan Health, said patients should instead call their primary care doctor from their homes if they show symptoms of coughing, fever or shortness of breath. They should also call if they have concerning travel history or believe they’ve been exposed to someone who has the virus.

If a person’s doctor isn't available, Watson said, they should call the urgent care center or the emergency department. If someone with symptoms does show up to the hospital, Watson said they should not enter the emergency room.

People with symptoms of the virus will be tested at Mid-Michigan Mount Pleasant in a bus, trailer or the patient's car. If a patient's symptoms are worsening, Watson said they may be triaged over the phone to other areas of the hospital like the urgent care, their doctor’s office or the emergency room. 

Testers at Mid-Michigan Mount Pleasant are also taking precautions to mitigate the virus spread. While testing, health workers will be wearing face masks, gloves, eye protection and gowns.

If someone tests positive for coronavirus, the severity of their symptoms will determine where they will go. Patients with mild symptoms will be sent home for a 14-day quarantine, Watson said. Those with moderate symptoms will be kept at the hospital if they have underlying health issues or are getting sicker. If there aren’t any underlying symptoms, the patient will be sent home and advised to call the hospital every day.

McLaren Central Michigan has put in place a similar triage process that will best determine which entrance of the hospital patients should enter, said Rachel Blizzard, McLaren marketing and funds director. McLaren is asking people with symptoms who require ER services to call (989) 772-6720 to speak with a triage nurse. There are isolated areas of the hospital where patients with potential coronavirus symptoms will be treated.