Southfield-based Beaumont Health announced its first death of a patient with COVID-19. The patient, a man in his 50s with underlying medical conditions, passed away at a Beaumont Hospital in Wayne County.
The announcement comes on the heels of Beaumont’s launch of an online COVID-19 risk assessment tool that asks patients a series of questions to help them determine whether they should stay home or seek medical attention.
“Our medical team went to extraordinary efforts to care for this patient, and we are deeply saddened by his passing and empathize with his family,” says Susan Grant, chief nursing officer. “Our physicians, nurses, and medical staff are all working together to care for COVID-19 patients. During a time like this, we are united to battle this virus. Further, we must continue to serve and care for the non-COVID-19 needs of all patients whether they are giving birth, needing essential surgery, or requiring lifesaving emergency procedures.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, two more have died due to the virus – a woman in her 50s at McLaren Oakland Hospital and an 81-year-old patient at Henry Ford Health System’s Detroit hospital. Both passed away on Wednesday, and both had underlying health conditions.
Beaumont’s online screening tool will suggest that patients contact a primary care physician, go to a curbside screening, seek treatment at an emergency center, or stay home and monitor symptoms based on how they answer the questions.
“Many people who become infected with COVID-19 can stay home and treat their symptoms with over-the-counter medication, unless their symptoms become severe,” says Dr. Nicholas Gilpin, medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Beaumont. “The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. This online risk assessment tool will help our patients better understand what steps they should consider taking if they are not feeling well.”
Patients should also consider calling Beaumont’s coronavirus hotline at (800) 592-4784 or their physicians’ offices before attempting to be screened. However, people who experience life-threatening symptoms should call 911.
“Everyone does not necessarily need to be tested,” says Gilpin. “Most people who become infected with the disease will not experience complications and will recover. They will just need to go home, rest, and take over-the-counter pain medication.”
Beaumont has built a COVID-19 screening and testing operation that includes:
- Limited coronavirus testing by Beaumont staff.
- On Tuesday, Beaumont processed about 500 tests.
- Since Thursday, March 12, Beaumont has sent another 1,100 tests to the state and national labs for testing.
- Not everyone who has COVID-19 symptoms needs to be tested. Beaumont recommends speaking with a physician or nurse on the phone prior to testing.
- Curbside screening is available at all eight Beaumont hospitals.
- Beaumont staff screened about 1,500 patients across the health system Thursday.
- Beaumont’s coronavirus hotline is staffed by nurses and staff members, who are answering about 5,000 calls per day.
- Visitor restrictions are in place at all Beaumont hospitals.
- Some surgeries that are not immediately essential have been paused indefinitely.
- The main Beaumont command center is helping the Beaumont team coordinate, share resources, and communicate across the system.
- State and federal health agencies and lawmakers are working with Beaumont leaders to help contain the virus and enable health systems to care for patients who become seriously ill.
- Staff are getting and being educated on personal protective equipment and infection control procedures.
- Collaboration with other health systems in the state and the country.
People can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:
- Staying home when they are sick.
- Washing their hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after using the bathroom.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoiding touching their eyes, noses, and mouths.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
More information about COVID-19 is available on C-Span.