Beaumont requiring COVID-19 vaccination cards for visitors, with some exceptions

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Correction: This story has been corrected to include more specifics on Beaumont's visitation policy.

Beaumont Health System is requiring visitors vaccinated against COVID-19 to show proof before they can see loved ones being treated at its hospitals, but there are exceptions, officials said Wednesday.

The move is part of the health care company's efforts to protect its patients as the number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan surge, they said. It also comes about a week after Beaumont reinstated visitor restrictions and limited who can see patients at its hospitals.

Abigail Reeder, manager of Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital's Pharmacy, shows a COVID-19 vaccination record card at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids on Dec. 11, 2020.

The hospital system still is banning visitors for patients with confirmed COVID-19 or those suspected of having the virus.

But under the latest policy, which went into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday, visitors must be 14 days past their final dose of COVID vaccine and show proof of vaccination to see patients who do not have or are not suspected of having COVID-19. A photo of the vaccination card is allowed.

Officials said the hospital will accept two forms of proof:

► A completed, official Vaccination Record Card and photo identification

► A photo of a completed, official Vaccination Record Card and photo identification.

Michigan's largest hospital system said it still allows some unvaccinated visitors under special circumstances — expectant mothers, pediatric patients and hospice patients.

"We know that we’re one of the first health care systems allowing vaccinated visitors," John Fox, Beaumont Health's president and CEO, said in a statement. "But we recognize that patients recuperate better when they have someone dear to them nearby. So we are working hard to balance safety with compassionate family support as we lead the way through the pandemic."

Also Wednesday, the health care system said its number of COVID-19-positive or suspected positive inpatients has skyrocketed from 128 on Feb. 28 to more than 500 patients as of Tuesday.  It also said it is treating more than double the number of COVID-19 patients than any other hospital system in the state, citing Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data. 

"As we experience Michigan’s third COVID-19 surge, the Beaumont Health team will use everything we have learned while treating the most COVID-19 patients in Michigan to again provide the best care possible," Fox said. "Please continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing while we work together to respond to the latest surge.

"Vaccinations are helping, but we are not there yet. We need to stay vigilant to protect our families, friends and communities. For now, the virus is moving faster than the vaccinations."

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez