"We need to prioritize our precious resources" says Beaumont chief following first COVID-19 death

A Beaumont Hospital medical chief is urging young, healthy people showing few or no symptoms of the pandemic coronavirus to self-quarantine and don't get tested.

Following the hospital reporting Michigan's first death tied to COVID-19, Infectious Disease Specialist Nicholas Gilpen said due to a lack of beds, test kids and space, unless someone is chronically ill, elderly or showing a fever and having trouble breathing, to please stay home and practice social distancing.

"We need help from the media to get the message out to the public: COVID-19 testing is being processed on a limited basis onsite. We don't have the bandwidth or the testing supplies to test everyone," Gilpen said. "We need to preserve our precious resources."

Right now, those resources include Beaumont's testing capabilities, protective equipment, beds, and staff.

"Those are the things that are more precious to us than gold right now," he added.

RELATED: Beaumont reports first death in Michigan related to the coronavirus/Covid-19

With Michigan's first death, described as a middle-aged man, Gilpen says the public health sector is at its 'pivot' and they need to start prioritizing who gets tested.

To aid those who aren't sure, they are urged to call the coronavirus hotline at 800-592-4784. The hospital also intends to set up an online risk assessment tool for people who might not fit the demographic of people most at risk of getting sick but still want to learn more.

In order to prioritize staff and resources, all non-essential surgeries have been canceled at the hospital.

On March 17, Beaumont's curbside locations screened 1,500 people. However, the number of tests, positive cases and deaths are expected to rise in the coming days as the public health infrastructure builds up.

"You're going to see the number of cases escalate tremendously, and that's partly because you're going to see more real cases, also because our testing is going to begin to catching up," said Gilpen.