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Henry Ford Health System eases visitor restrictions as COVID-19 cases drop

The Detroit News

Henry Ford Health System is easing visitor restrictions as COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen to their lowest level since mid-March, officials announced Friday.

Since visiting hours differ depending on the facility, "each hospital has updated its policy based on the conditions in its service area," the health system said in a statement. "The policy is being adjusted as conditions change."

Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit on Mar. 31, 2020.

Loved ones and friends are asked to check the visitor policy online. Meanwhile, other restrictions remain in place, including:

• Masks are required at all Henry Ford facilities for staffers, patients and visitors ages 5 and older.

• All employees, patients and visitors are screened for COVID-19 before entry including a temperature check.

• All visitors must remain with the patient except for quick trips to the restroom or to buy food

• All visitors should refrain from eating or drinking in the patient’s room or sharing the patient's restroom.

The changes come as COVID-19 cases fall in Michigan and officials move to end other restrictions.

Michigan has dropped from leading the nation in new cases last week to being ranked 10th at 89 cases per 100,000 — a decrease from a high of 519 cases per capita earlier in April. Alabama is leading at 134 cases per 100,000 people, outpacing Colorado at 132 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Wednesday, 1,556 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 with 465 in an intensive care unit and 296 others on ventilators. That's a 62% drop from April 19 when hospitalizations peaked with 4,158 patients.

About 15 hospitals in Michigan were at 90% or more capacity as recently as Monday Monday. Ascension St. Joseph Hospital and Mercy Health Campus are at full capacity, according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Michigan on Friday added 1,132 coronavirus cases and 38 deaths from COVID-19. Cases and testing positivity have declined for the last five weeks.

On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced outdoor capacity limits will lift and indoor capacity limits can rise to 50% on June 1. The state aims to lift all of its mandates by July 1, she said.

As of Wednesday, 56.8% of Michigan residents over age 16 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.