Importance of Seeking Preventative Care

Screenings Save Lives

March 10 marks a year since the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Michigan. The many waves of this pandemic have created the need to change and adapt throughout the world. And, while McLaren Northern Michigan was met with challenging and evolving information, we continued to provide safe, quality care to our patients and the community.

“We have come a long way in treating and preventing COVID-19 in the last year. In March of 2020, this was a novel virus with little information on treatment and limited testing capability,” expressed Karen DenBesten, MD, Infectious Disease specialist at McLaren Northern Michigan. “Throughout this pandemic we were able to test all hospitalized patients and provide proven treatments in combatting this deadly disease.”

At its peak, McLaren Northern Michigan opened additional units to be able to care for COVID-19 patients separate from all non-COVID patients. “Our priority is to provide safe, high-quality care to our patients,” said Dr. DenBesten. “By creating and maintaining separate COVID units and floors, we created safeguards to protect our patients and staff.”

Even though there are declining COVID-19 numbers and more community members being vaccinated, there is still a need to be on high alert with new variants of COVID-19, more research is needed to determine if vaccinated individuals can still be carriers. McLaren Northern Michigan is dedicated to continuing safety measures to protect staff and patients, including:

• Requiring every individual to wear a hospital-issued mask
• All staff adhering to best-practice PPE standards
• COVID-positive patients are separated from all other patients
• Visitor restrictions and special guidelines
• Increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
• Symptom screenings at all entrances

“With the continued decline of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, we are able to offer expanded visitation,” said Andrew McDonagh, MD, Chief Medical Officer at McLaren Northern Michigan. “Visitors are a key part of patient recovery. We are thrilled we can begin offering increased visitation. Nonetheless, some restrictions must remain in place to ensure patient and staff safety.”

While the news of declining COVID-19 cases is encouraging, other medical cases are increasing due to postponing preventative or interventional care. According to Cancer Network, standard cancer screenings dropped significantly in 2020, nearly reaching a 90 percent decrease in screening during some months. “This statistic is alarming. I urge the community to not delay their care because of the fear of COVID-19, including managing chronic conditions and getting preventative screenings,” stressed Dr. McDonagh. “Delaying care could have negative ramifications on your future health; even the smallest health concerns, could be a sign of something more severe. It is important to know that our hospital and clinics are committed to keeping you safe. We are ready to care for you.”

McLaren Northern Michigan primary care providers are accepting new patients, find a provider close to home by visiting