More than 2,000 healthcare workers at metro Detroit's largest health systems have been off the job because of the coronavirus.
At six-hospital Henry Ford Health System based in Detroit, more than 700 workers have tested positive for COVID-19, said Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford's executive vice president and chief clinical officer. Most of the employees who have tested positive have mild symptoms; however, on average, 20% of people testing positive require hospitalization, he said Monday. Henry Ford has nearly 32,000 employees.
Last week, a registered nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit died in her home of COVID-19, Crain's reported Saturday.
"Since tracking began on March 12, we have tested nearly 2,500 team members across our organization, the majority of whom have tested negative," Munkarah said in an email to Crain's.
"... In addition to strict adherence to the use of PPE when caring for COVID-19 patients, we have put a number of aggressive safety measures in place including a universal mask policy for all employees and visitors, and the prioritization of testing for team members who are exhibiting symptoms, even if mild."
Munkarah said it is impossible to know if the employees picked up the coronavirus from exposure at work or the community.
"We need to remember that testing positive is just a measure of how contagious this virus is at the present," said Munkarah, who added that some of the healthcare workers testing positive are also back at work.
"Most healthcare systems, if not all that we've talked to at the present time, even when people are testing positive, are allowing people to be back to work by putting masks on and taking care of patients."
Beaumont Health has 1,500 of its 38,000 employees staying home because they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, spokesman Mark Geary told Crain's. That's 3.9 percent of its workforce.
"These employees will stay home for a minimum of seven days and until they no longer have symptoms. They also must be free of fever and other symptoms for at least three days," he said.
Beaumont is not requiring employees to use their paid time off, Geary said.
Dozens of other healthcare workers at Detroit Medical Center also have tested positive for COVID-19 or have called in sick, said several sources, who asked for confidentiality.
A DMC spokesman told Crain's the six-hospital health system does its best to keep employees and patients safe during the coronavirus outbreak. A group of emergency department nurses at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital protested working conditions early Monday morning and were sent home.
Henry Ford COO Bob Riney said the health system still has ventilator capacity for more COVID-19 patients, but he is concerned with not having enough trained staff to care for the patients.
"More than 2,000 workers at Henry Ford Health, Beaumont affected by COVID-19" originally appeared in Crain's Detroit Business.