Detroit Medical Center furloughs nearly 500 team members amid COVID-19 crisis

The Detroit Medical Center said it has to furlough nearly 500 employees because of the Stay Home orders and government restrictions on elective procedures.

According to a statement from Chief Medical Executive officer Audrey Gregory, DMC is furloughing 480 team members who are not related to the COVID-19/coronavirus crisis or other critical patient care needs.

Gregory said the move is being done because of the stay-at-home orders and government restrictions on elective procedures have caused some hospital units to be temporarily closed or ramped down.

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She said the DMC will still provide the furloughed employees with medical benefits at no cost through the furlough period.

In the statement, she did not say when the furloughs would go into place but said she expects that the hospital can return the employees once they "navigate through this unprecedented time and our core business gets back to normal".

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"These actions do not impact direct bedside nursing care for COVID-19 and do not impact emergency or medically necessary care access for patients with other medical conditions. We remain appropriately staffed to provide our full support to treat patients in greater Detroit."

Gregory's statement did not indicate where the employees who are being furloughed work or when they will be notified of their furlough. It also did not say how long the furlough would last.

RELATED: Social distancing: What to do and what not to do to slow the spread of COVID-19

Michigan, especially Detroit and surrounding communities, has been one of the hardest-hit states. Since the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the state on March 10, thousands more have become infected and hundreds have died

Schools have been closed now for the remainder of the year and Gov. Whitmer's statewide stay-at-home order has been extended through the end of April. 

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Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.