LANSING, Mich. — Leaders from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association signed a letter Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, urging Michiganders to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines regardless of state laws, executive orders or local public health directives.
The letter came after the Michigan Supreme Court struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders requiring Michiganders observe precautions like mask wearing and social distancing.
"Hospitals and health care systems across the state are standing as a united front in our policies and interventions in order to fight the spread of COVID-19," MHHA officials said. "It is imperative that every Michigan resident join us in taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of this deadly disease."
Citing a recent 80% surge in COVID-19 cases in all regions of Michigan, the letter said staff, patients and visitors would still be required to follow safety guidelines at the hospitals and health care facilities of the leaders who signed it. Of Michigan's 137 hospitals, 110 were represented in the letter.
"If the trend continues, doctors and nurses, therapists and custodians, food services and support staff, who have barely begun to recover from the terrible stress of the initial COVID-19 surge will suffer additional stress and risk their own infection, illness, and mortality," MHHA officials said.
The requested precautions included:
"If Michigan doesn’t change its approach to this disease, we could have crowded hospital emergency departments and approach exceeding the capacity of our hospitals as we did in Southeast Michigan this past spring," the letter said.
MHHA officials said the decision to continue safety measures was data-driven and apolitical. They said following the guidelines would help keep hospitals and health care facilities safe for patients to receive care as needed, and could prevent another surge in admissions and deaths, which they said could be catastrophic.