Michigan hospital reinstates visitor limits after cases rise

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LANSING — A Detroit-area hospital said Wednesday it will reinstate visitor restrictions out of an abundance of caution following a rise in coronavirus cases among staff, patients and visitors.

Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest health care system, said the limits began Thursday at its Farmington Hills campus. Beaumont has cared for more COVID-19 patients than any other system in the state.

“We are in the process of reminding and educating our patients, visitors and staff about the importance of taking all appropriate precautions to limit the spread of the virus,” said spokesman Mark Geary, referring to “multiple” cases.

No one will be allowed in the rooms of patients with pending or positive tests except for in end-of-life or other extreme circumstance. In cases not related to COVID-19, one person can visit under a number of exceptions if he or she is screened and wears personal protective equipment.

Cases

The state on Wednesday reported nine additional coronavirus-related deaths and 517 more confirmed cases. That brought the death toll to 6,539 and the case count to nearly 98,700, including roughly 9,400 probable cases and 266 probable deaths.

Over the past two weeks, the seven-day case average has remained mostly constant, at around 720, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The counties with the most new cases per capita were rural ones such as Gogebic, Menominee and Ontonagon in the Upper Peninsula but also urban places such as Macomb — just north of Detroit — and Saginaw.

Mask lawsuit

An orchard in northern Michigan sued Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state and local officials to stop the business from potentially losing its license for not enforcing the governor’s requirement that customers and some employees wear masks. Friske Orchards Farm Market in Ellsworth in Antrim County employs 21 workers and operates a fruit stand, bakery, cafe, gift shop, and outdoor playground and entertainment area.

The lawsuit, filed in the state Court of Claims, says Whitmer’s orders have flattened the curve and kept hospitals from being overwhelmed with patients, “and there is no longer an emergency supporting unilateral executive actions.”

Suspending a business license for noncompliance with an order — which must be considered by state departments and agencies under a directive the governor issued last week — is excessive because the law allows for a maximum penalty of a 90-day misdemeanor and a $500 fine, according to the complaint.

The state declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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