COVID-19: Livingston, Washtenaw health officials working with local hospitals

Hospital and health officials from the Livingston and Washtenaw areas have been collaborating for weeks on preparation for patients with COVID-19, keeping in contact and sharing emergency response plans.

Both Michigan Medicine and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System have implemented visitor guidance asking people who are sick to wait until they are healthy to visit patients.

“We want to assure community members that their healthcare leaders are preparing for potential patients. At Michigan Medicine, we have activated a comprehensive planning and response team. We have plans in place so that we can appropriately care for these patients and keep our employees and the community safe,” said Jeff Desmond, chief medical officer for Michigan Medicine.

Health department and hospital officials stress that good hand hygiene is the best defense against the spread of diseases like COVID-19 or the flu. They encourage all to practice proper cough practices – cough into your arm, elbow, or tissue – and clean frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant.

Michigan Medicine launched a video this week that shows how to wash hands with the help of the “Hail to the Victors” fight song.

People should stay six feet away from those who are sick if possible, practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and should stay home from work, school or social gatherings when they are sick.

“To help minimize community spread, we will continue to screen all presenting patients regarding fever, respiratory symptoms, travel risk factors, and exposures and, if indicated, immediately place a mask on and isolate the patient,” said Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, M.D., chief clinical officer at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may be mild or severe and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have symptoms, the best thing to do is call your primary care physician, who can determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

“Unless you are experiencing emergency symptoms, we recommend you don’t go to an emergency room where you can infect others,” said Juan Luiz Marquez, M.D., M.P.H., medical director at Washtenaw County Health Department. “Most COVID-19 symptoms can be managed at home with advice from a physician.”

“Remote tools such as virtual-visits also can be a good option for people. Those without primary care physicians can also call the health department for advice or a place to start,” said Donald Lawrenchuk, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the Livingston County Health Department.

Residents can call Livingston County Health Department at 517-546-9850 or the Washtenaw County Health Department at 734-544-6700. Or access information at

More information is available at Michigan MedicineSaint Joseph Mercy Health SystemLivingston County Health Department and Washtenaw County Health Department.

About Michigan Medicine
At Michigan Medicine, we advance health to serve Michigan and the world. We pursue excellence every day in our three hospitals, 125 clinics and home care operations that handle more than 2.3 million outpatient visits a year, as well as educate the next generation of physicians, health professionals and scientists in our U-M Medical School.

Michigan Medicine includes the top ranked U-M Medical School and the University of Michigan Health System, which includes the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, University Hospital, the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and the Rogel Cancer Center. Michigan Medicine’s adult hospitals were ranked no. 11 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2019-20 and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was the only children’s hospital in Michigan nationally ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties analyzed by U.S. News and World Report for 2019-20. The U-M Medical School is one of the nation’s biomedical research powerhouses, with total research funding of more than $500 million.

More information is available at

About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving seven counties in southeast Michigan including Livingston, Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Jackson, and Lenawee. It includes 548-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 497-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 66-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, and 133-bed St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  Combined, the five hospitals are licensed for 1,548 beds, have five outpatient health centers, six urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 15,300 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 2,700 physicians.   SJMHS has annual operating revenues of about $2 billion and returns about $115 million to its communities annually through charity care and community benefit programs.

SJMHS is a member of Trinity Health, a leading Catholic health care system based in Livonia, Mich. Trinity Health operates in 22 states, employs about 133,000 colleagues, has annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of about $24.7 billion. Additionally, the organization returns almost $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs.

For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit