Ascension St. Joseph Implements Phased Approach to Return to Surgeries and other Healthcare Services

Plan focuses on health and safety of all patients and associates

Tawas City, MI – Ascension St. Joseph resumed elective surgical procedures and other vital healthcare services at its sites of care using a phased and thoughtful approach with a focus on health and safety on Friday, May 29. All efforts are in alignment with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-96.

As part of Ascension Michigan, Ascension St. Joseph hospital and its outpatient facilities will begin scheduled surgeries and procedures, prioritizing those that are most urgent, while simultaneously ensuring continued capability and safety to provide care for patients with COVID-19.

Time-sensitive surgical and medical procedures needed to protect and preserve the health safety and welfare of patients have been ongoing in compliance with the Governor's Executive Order 2020-17. Beginning May 29, Ascension St. Joseph started scheduling additional surgeries, prioritizing urgent procedures that cannot be further delayed due to adverse healthcare risks. Seven days prior to surgery, patients will be asked to quarantine, per CDC guidelines, and follow social distancing measures. All patients with a scheduled surgery will be COVID-19 lab tested 48 hours prior, in addition to being screened the day of surgery.

Additionally, Ascension St. Joseph will continue a number of safety measures already in place, including advanced telehealth capabilities for virtual care, universal masking, hospital visitor restrictions, social distancing, and screening of all persons entering their facilities, including temperature checks. Ascension St. Joseph will continue the ongoing extensive sanitization and cleaning of their facilities, including all surgical areas, and the hospital has a designated space for surgical patients. Measures are also in place to maintain adequate inventory levels of personal protective equipment across all Ascension locations.

Ascension St. Joseph will remain focused on surge readiness and providing continued COVID-19 care while safely returning to serve the community’s broader medically necessary healthcare needs. Given this is a fluid situation, Ascension St. Joseph, as well as all Ascension Michigan sites of care, is prepared to be flexible and responsive to rapidly evolving conditions in our community. The collective efforts across Michigan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are working, but the pandemic is not yet over. Ascension St. Joseph staff and our community need to remain vigilant in masking, practicing social distancing and continuing to follow local orders to stop the spread of the virus.