Munson Healthcare Moves to Pandemic Level Red Status

Munson Healthcare Moves to Pandemic Level Red Status

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise across the region, Munson Healthcare is activating protocols for Pandemic Response Level Red for the first time in the organization’s history.

While COVID-19 numbers are on the decline across the nation as a whole, this is not the case in Michigan. Positivity rate and hospitalizations continue to steadily increase while northern Michigan’s positivity rate is even higher than the state’s overall. Munson Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Christine Nefcy, M.D., FAAP, said Pandemic Level Red indicates that the current COVID-19 positivity rate across northern Michigan communities is putting the health system at risk of overcapacity.

“The number of patients we are seeing in our hospitals right now are close to those we experienced during the worst of the pandemic last spring,” she said. “We’ve been closely monitoring this prolonged surge and preparing for this contingency to ensure we continue to serve the needs of our communities.”

Pandemic Level Red is the highest of Munson Healthcare’s five-stage pandemic preparedness plan under which:

  • Pandemic-related care is prioritized above all other issues which provides the flexibility to pause some services and assess non-urgent surgeries on a case-by-case basis to shift staff and resources to where they are needed most.
  • Primary care practices, outpatient clinics and labs remain open and virtual visits are available. However, hours of operation may be impacted, and certain services may be scaled back as resources are shifted and adjusted according to need.
  • The current visitation policy remains in effect but is subject to change depending on community positivity rate and patient volume in health system hospitals.

Munson Healthcare is committed to aligning resources and services to continue delivering high-quality care as the current Delta variant surge endures. Patients will be notified directly by their healthcare provider if a procedure needs to be rescheduled. Lab and clinic hours are kept up-to-date at

Dr. Nefcy adds there are simple steps everyone can take to reduce the positivity rate and ease the strain on healthcare resources and staff so normal operations can resume.

“Now, more than ever, we need our communities to band together with us by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public, practicing proper hand hygiene, and avoiding large gatherings whenever possible,” she said. “The support for our healthcare heroes during the pandemic has been overwhelming and every one of us can make an impact to protect our friends, neighbors, loved ones and community.”