GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After three years of COVID-19 safety protocols, many Michigan health systems have announced changes to mask guidelines.
Details about each health system’s optional masking policies can be found on their websites. The following health systems in Michigan have announced changes to mask policies:
- Ascension Michigan
- Bronson Healthcare
- Corewell Health
- Covenant HealthCare
- Detroit Medical Center (DMC)
- Holland Hospital
- Henry Ford Health
- Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation
- McLaren Health Care
- Michigan Medicine
- Munson Healthcare
- MyMichigan Health
- Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services
- Trinity Health Michigan
According to a news release from Corewell Health, Michigan health systems decided to make mask wearing optional due to several factors, including the decrease in the number of COVID-19 inpatients and various ways to combat the virus.
“I think from a hospital and healthcare worker standpoint, there is just a lot of optimism. We feel like we have a reasonable plan and a good situation to be in where we can learn to kind of live with COVID. I think my big picture takeaway is that of optimism and just feeling so much better than any situation we’ve been in in the past,” said Dr. Andrew Jameson at Trinity Health.
Health facilities will continue to provide free masks and hand sanitizer. Patients can also ask for health staff to wear masks, the release said.
“Today feels a bit like a momentous day for us,” Dr. Darryl Elmouchi with Corewell Health said. “I can’t wait till 6 a.m. tomorrow morning when I can walk into work and not be wearing a mask.”
Leadership at multiple Michigan hospitals started meeting a couple weeks ago to discuss policy changes, he said.
“COVID has changed. We’re in a different time,” Elmouchi said. “We’ve reviewed our own data and for months now less than 3% of our hospital beds have been taken up by COVID-19 patients, and amongst those about half are here for reasons other than COVID-19.”
At Corewell Health, the mask mandate remains in place for transplant clinics and nursing homes. Patients with respiratory symptoms will still be required to wear a mask, and guests with respiratory symptoms are asked to stay home.
He noted the masking guidelines may change in the future if the state experiences an increase in COVID-19 or other virus cases.