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DHHS director says prevention key to COVID-19 response

Illustration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Michigan’s chief medical executive testified Thursday on the state’s preparations to deal with COVID-19 cases.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun appeared before the House Health Policy Committee. She says the state’s still inventorying the needs of health care facilities to meet the possible demand.

“We have asked our hospitals to think about their surge capacity, their staffing capacity, and that’s part even of the community mitigation strategy – making sure our most vulnerable who would need those hospital beds, making sure that they don’t get sick so they don’t overwhelm the hospital systems,” she says. 

Khaldun says prevention efforts can slow the spread of the virus and help manage the flow of patients who need emergency services.

“If you slow it enough, you can prepare your public health systems. We can prepare the community. And we can make sure our health care systems, our hospitals have what they need, and we don’t inundate them with very sick patients,” she says.

The Legislature has also approved $25 million to help with the response to the coronavirus.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the state will also allow Medicaid patients more access to tele-medicine services in some cases in lieu of visits to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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