COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise nationwide. In Michigan, a daily average of more than 5,000 new cases has been confirmed over the past week.
Amid the uptick, Henry Ford and Beaumont Health Systems are re-instituting more stringent visitor guidelines. Both protocols limit outpatients to one guest, with exceptions where required.
Dr. Christopher Carpenter, M.D., is chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Beaumont Royal Oak. He says the change of rules is a precautionary measure.
“It is still very safe to come into the hospital to get taken care of,” says Carpenter. “The issue we’re having is we’re concerned about people coming in from the community who have not been tested and spreading it to healthcare workers and staff.”
As cases continue to rise, hope for a vaccine is on the horizon. Beaumont Health System is joining phase three trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, known as AZD1222.
Testing efforts for the drug are well underway in countries around the globe. Carpenter says the goal in the US is to enroll 40,000 participants in a double-blind study.
“It’ll be two-to-one randomization,” Carpenter explains. ”So of every three people, two would get the vaccine and one would get a placebo, which is just saline.”
Carpenter says Beaumont is one of many health systems taking part in the trial nationwide. He says study participants will be followed up with over a two year period.
While AZD1222 is being developed in the United Kingdom with backing from the European-based, biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, the U.S. trial is supported by Operation Warp Speed.