After three years of caring for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Michigan’s major health systems are making masking optional in most areas over the next week.
Factors influencing the Michigan health systems to work together to make this decision include:
- The number of COVID-19 inpatients has drastically declined across the state.
- There are multiple effective ways to combat the virus, including vaccines and medical treatment.
- The desire to restore the powerful human connection when patients, caregivers and loved ones can see each other’s faces.
Specific details about each health system’s optional masking policies will be available on each health system’s website. COVID-19 has become an illness that, in most cases, will be treated like other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. The virus will likely remain for years to come.
All health systems will continue to provide stations with free masks and hand sanitizer at entrances for patients, visitors and team members who choose to use them. Patients can also ask their care teams to wear masks.
Masking guidelines could be adjusted again if COVID-19, flu or any other virus begins to spread rapidly in the community.
Below are links to each health system’s website and a brief explanation of what’s changing and when:
- Effective immediately: Ascension Michigan acute care and ambulatory centers have suspended the routine use of hospital-grade masks except in units providing care to special immunocompromised populations or patients with an increased risk of complications from COVID-19. These include intensive care units, oncology units/centers and transplant units.
- Effective Tuesday, April 18: Masking will become optional for patients, visitors, and employees at Bronson Healthcare hospitals and outpatient locations, except for those who exhibit symptoms of respiratory or infectious illness. Masking will continue at Bronson Commons – a skilled nursing facility.
- Effective Friday, April 14, at 6 a.m.: Optional masking for patients and clinical teams at all hospitals and locations, except long-term care and skilled nursing facilities and transplant clinics.
- Effective Monday, April 17: Masking will be optional for staff, patients, visitors, and volunteers at Covenant facilities with a few exceptions. Details available on the Covenant website.
- Effective Friday, April 14: Masking will be optional for patients and staff at all Detroit Medical Center hospitals and locations.
- Effective Friday, April 14: Masks will be optional at Henry Ford Health facilities except for inpatient areas where we care for immunocompromised patients.
- Effective Friday, April 14 at 7 a.m.: Masking is recommended but optional for patients, visitors and clinical teams at our Grand Rapids hospital campus, West Michigan outpatient locations, and Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetic + Bionics locations. The Mary Free Bed Sub-Acute Rehabilitation program will continue to require masks for patients, visitors and staff.
- Effective Monday, April 17: Masking will become optional for patients, visitors, and employees at all McLaren Health Care hospital and outpatient locations, except for designated critical care units, Karmanos Cancer Institute facilities, subacute/outpatient rehabilitation facilities, and skilled nursing facilities.
- Michigan Medicine updated masking guidelines on April 5.
- Effective Friday, April 14: Universal masking will no longer be required in Munson Healthcare hospitals and clinics – with the exception of long-term care and skilled nursing facilities. In addition, the health system will return to its pre-pandemic visitation policy.
- Visitors and patients are no longer required to mask in non-patient care areas, including common entryways, hallways and waiting rooms. Patient care areas are defined as any location in which patients are being screened, evaluated, treated or admitted.
- Effective Thursday, April 13: Employees and visitors are no longer required to wear a mask except in 24/7 patient care settings and specialty care units. Patients will continue to be screened/tested for COVID-19 at admission and are not required to mask unless endorsing symptoms of illness or diagnosed with COVID-19 infection.
- Effective Monday, April 17: Optional masking for patients, visitors and colleagues at hospitals, outpatient facilities, home health, and physician offices, except for senior living communities.
Picture – Emergency Department staff from Trinity Health Livonia photographed removing masks following an announcement that many local hospitals would be relaxing their mask requirements for employees, patients and visitors.