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UPHS reimplements restrictions

Team Fox Motors Marquette buys lunch from Smelted Wood Fired Pizza and Dia De Los Tacos on Thursday for UP Health System employees. The gesture was to thank them for serving the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Bennett Media Group)

MARQUETTE — UP Health System-Marquette again is implementing certain visitor restrictions since the Upper Peninsula continues to see a rising number of COVID-19 cases and increased transmission rate.

UPHS-Marquette announced that its previous limited visitation for inpatients only has been suspended until further notice.

“Like many communities across the country, the public health crisis continues to take its toll on our community and demand even more of our energy and efforts,” said Gar Atchison, market president of UPHS, in a statement. “We believe this effort is necessary to do our part in keeping our patients and employees as safe as possible.”

Effective today, visitors will be permitted to enter the facility only if they are:

≤ necessary for the provision of medical care, the support of activities of daily living or the exercise of the power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for an individual under the facility’s care;

≤ accompanying an admitted patient specifically at the time of admission and at the time of discharge to help with the process and post-procedure, with routine visiting not permitted;

≤ a support person with the patient in the Family Birthing Center at any time, or a certified doula/midwife during labor;

≤ a parent, foster parent or guardian of an individual under age 18 who is under the facility’s care;

≤ visiting an individual under the facility’s care who is in critical condition or hospice care;

≤ visiting under urgent circumstances to perform official government functions; and

≤ able to wear an appropriate mask or face covering. If people are unable to wear these coverings, they might be denied entry to the facility.

Visitors are not allowed for patients in isolation, including those under observation for suspected COVID-19 or who test positive for COVID-19.

UPHS continues to perform health screens for all individuals entering the facility and must deny entry to individuals who do not meet the evaluation criteria, which include symptoms of a respiratory infection, muscle or body aches, headache, a new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting.

The main entrance of the hospital is open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The UPHS Emergency Department entrance is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Bistro on Baraga will be open only for employees.

“We want to reassure our communities that it is safe to come to the hospital should you or your family need care,” Atchison said.

Team Fox Motors

Marquette helps UPHS

Team Fox Motors Marquette on Thursday purchased lunches from the Smelted Wood Fire Pizza and Dia De Los Tacos food trucks to feed all UPHS health care workers.

“This is something we want to do to simply say thank you to our community health care system,” said Luke Hubbard, Team Fox Motors Marquette manager, in a news release. “They are putting themselves at risk every day for the better of our community and we think that a positive gesture can go a long way, especially in these difficult times.

“Community involvement is such a big part of our company culture. This was a no-brainer.”

Hospitals recognize heroes

Gar Atchison, CEO and market president of UPHS-Marquette; Mitch Leckett, CEO of UPHS-Bell; and Ed Freysinger, CEO of UPHS-Portage, issued a public acknowledgment of the “health care heroes” at UPHS.

“As we enter the special time of year traditionally associated with giving and thankfulness, we wanted to take a moment to recognize our team of dedicated health care heroes at UP Health System-Bell, UP Health System-Marquette and UP Health System-Portage,” they said in a letter to local communities. “It is difficult to imagine a more challenging time for our community than what we have faced over the past eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. This public health crisis continues to take its toll on our community; demand even more of our energy and efforts to keep ourselves and others safe; and, quite frankly, change life as we know it.” 

They noted the “brightest ray of sunshine and hope through this ongoing storm” is the team fighting the coronavirus on the front lines at UP Health System every day.

“You can rest assured that our heroes are hard at work caring for you and your family, friends and neighbors around the clock — and we truly hope that fact gives you some peace of mind,” the CEOs said.

They said all colleagues, whether providing direct patient care or supporting those who do, play a vital role in helping ensure patients receive the best possible care.

“We are so grateful for their extraordinary efforts during these demanding days, their passion for serving others and their ability to keep a positive outlook despite such trying times,” they said. “We simply cannot thank our providers, employees and volunteers enough for the countless ways they contribute to our mission of ‘Making Communities Healthier’ — and the way they always do it with compassion and a smile. 

“There is no doubt that we have felt so much love and support from our community since the beginning of the pandemic. It has been humbling, to say the least. As our battle continues, we sincerely hope you will keep our team in your thoughts and find a way to share your gratitude for a health care worker you appreciate. Your support continues to fuel our team and lift us up more than you can imagine, so thank you for standing by us.”

They urged people to continue wearing their masks, washing their hands and keeping their distance from others.

To show gratitude to a health care worker, visit ThankAHealthcareHero.com.

NMU updates numbers

The most recent cumulative numbers on NMU’s Safe on Campus dashboard, found at https://nmu.edu/ safe-on-campus/, show that between July 27 and Thursday, there have been 259 COVID-19 positive cases, with a 3.43% positivity rate. These cases include 111 on-campus students, 124 off-campus students and 24 employees.

There are 79 active positive cases — 42 on-campus students, 29 off-campus students and eight employees.

State officials send letter

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich and Michigan House Democratic Leader Christine Greig on Wednesday sent a letter to President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to take swift action and pass a COVID relief bill that provides support to help combat COVID-19, mitigate its economic fallout, provide support for schools and protect frontline workers, restaurants and small businesses. 

“The coronavirus is not only a public health emergency, it is also an economic crisis threatening the livelihoods of our residents and businesses, too. Michigan businesses continue to grapple with the ongoing pandemic, with small businesses especially impacted,” Whitmer, Ananich and Greig said in a statement. “Any future relief package should also include robust aid to states and localities to help combat the virus, mitigate its economic fallout and protect essential services. Federal support was critical to enabling Michigan to mount an aggressive pandemic response and stabilize our economy in the early months of the pandemic. Now, during the worst surge we have seen yet, Michigan and states across the country need more support to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses.” 

The leaders also urged the federal government to provide support for Michigan’s unemployed workers.

“Nearly 3 million Michigan workers and counting have applied for unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic, with more than 600,000 still receiving benefits,” they said. “Rising infections are likely to lead to more layoffs, which will only drive this number higher. It is imperative that Congress take action now to extend the UI provisions of the CARES Act, such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, to provide relief to those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and to bolster the larger economy.”

According to the governor’s office, Whitmer has repeatedly called on the federal government to pass a bipartisan relief package to help Americans everywhere get through this crisis, with no response from the president, McConnell or Republicans in Congress. 

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 250. Her email is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

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