Henry Ford starts new campaign urging 'tough love' for Michiganders amid COVID-19

Henry Ford Health System announced Friday a new campaign asking Michiganders to do their part and stop the spread of the virus

The healthcare system is also opening acute respiratory clinics at four sites and planning to distribute more than 260,000 masks throughout metro Detroit

“We are asking people to help us fight the virus and help us through this battle in this tough-love message," said Dr. Adnan Munkarah, who's with the health system. 

The public awareness campaign is called "Tough Love," and is a message to all Michiganders using TV spots and social media to get the word out.

“It is to encourage people to stay tough and wear masks, social distance and practice good hand hygiene. These are all measures that have been proven to be extremely effective in controlling the spread of the virus," said Dr. Munkarah.

As of Friday, the hospital system has 365 confirmed positive COVID patients and another 134 patients isolated suspected of having the virus. Officials said 576 employees have either tested positive, have pending tests or are quarantined, adding to concerns over one of their most important resources: staff.

“We are very concerned with the staffing shortage. This staffing shortage is not peculiar to Henry Ford Health System but we are seeing it across the state and across the health system and other areas of the nation," Dr. Munkarah said. 

The number of patients on ICUs and on ventilators is stabilizing, according to the system, and good news is on the horizon as the healthcare provider is setting up freezers for the vaccine. They're also preparing to distribute it to the system’s frontline workers. Right now, workers won't be mandated to get the vaccine. 

Henry Ford is now also able to provide a monoclonal antibody treatment as an outpatient option to fight COVID-19. 

“This is a complicated treatment. It is an intravenous infusion, so this is a medication that's given into the vein over an hour," Dr. Munkarah said. 

The healthcare system is encouraging people to go to the doctor for other reasons besides COVID as the number of people who are dying because of non-COVID health issues is also on the rise. 

Virtual visits are available and the health system has significantly increased the amount they're doing.