Michigan Coronavirus: DCHS discusses COVID-19 plans


IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WJMN) – Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dickinson County Healthcare System has been letting the community and its leaders know how they are handling the situation.

The hospital has a COVID-19 Steering Committee that meets every morning to discuss what has happened and action steps for the future.

“We started out by making sure that we provided really good system wide education to all of our employees and then we started educating the community,” said Susan Hadley, VP, Clinical Services and Population Health, DCHS. “We created a hotline where the community can call in with questions and we also created an alternate testing site.”

As of Tuesday morning, DCHS has done 41 tests. 19 have come back negative, one came back positive for a resident in Marinette, Wisconsin. They also have a respiratory clinic to screen patients.

“Also keep them safely at home or have them be seen in the respiratory clinic so that limits and litigates the exposure,” said Hadley.

Right now, Hadley says they are working on executing their in patient preparedness plan.

“So we are creating a respiratory symptom wing versus a non respiratory symptom wing,” said Hadley. “We’ve also done that in our emergency department and our OB department and our OR department. So we’ve separated those patients that are at risk and have put special precautionary measures in place to take really good care of the patients but also protect the staff. Keeping those patients without any symptoms. Keeping those patients that show signs of symptoms separate from the patients that show signs.”

Hadley says they don’t know how intense the pandemic will be in the U.P. but are preparing for whatever may come their way.

“Given what we’ve seen in lower Michigan and New York, we could very well be in for an intense group of patients,” said Hadley. “But, fortunately for the Upper Peninsula, we have really great social distancing. I think the communities have responded great. The community leaders have brought out information so I think for the UP, we may be fortunate that our population isn’t so condensed as the other areas, but we are preparing that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and could maybe get some additional patients.”

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