Pescovitz offers campus to Beaumont to house COVID-19 patients, testing sites


Courtesy of Oakland University

President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz updates the campus community on OU’s coronavirus response in a video from her home Friday, March 27.

Following the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz offered assistance in the form of campus resources.

According to John T. Fox, CEO and president of Beaumont Health, the eight-hospital system is talking with OU to potentially use campus dorm rooms to house COVID-19 patients if hospitals run out of room. This comes after OU ordered a mandatory closure of on-campus housing Monday, March 23. 

The Detroit News said Pescovitz offered the campus dorms to possibly serve as a quarantine location for patients. The large, open-air parts of campus could also be used for make-shift hospitals, and parking lots could make drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. 

Pescovitz, who is a medical doctor and served as the CEO of the University of Michigan’s health system, made the offer to Beaumont on Thursday, March 19 because she anticipates southeast Michigan’s healthcare systems will be stressed to the point there’s no longer enough space for additional COVID-19 patients.

In an update on Friday, March 27, Pescovitz confirmed campus space and resources may likely be used by the health system, but there’s an addition: the campus community can also help.

“You’ve probably heard that we have offered our campus to those that might need us, our health systems that are currently under stress — crippling stress — and we’ve offered our Oakland University campus to those health systems should they need us, and it looks as though they will be calling on us to do exactly that,” she said, “but in addition, we’ve offered our people, and I’m so very, very proud of our people. You can visit our website to see whether you, too, can volunteer, whether you can volunteer your resources philanthropically, or your time.”

The university recently established The Engagement and Mobilization team (TEAM), which works in conjunction with state, county and local agencies to support delivering services to those in need of healthcare, food and housing, along with social support and other immediate needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to QuoteWizard, Michigan has an average of 2.5 hospital beds and 3.89 certified physicians per 1,000 people, ranking it the 9th-best in the nation for hospital capacity. Nationwide, the average is 2.96 physicians and 2.4 hospital beds per 1,000 people. 

To address the rising number of cases, Beaumont is shuffling resources to treat more COVID-19 patients and attempting to balance the number of patients at each hospital as they get closer to capacity.

“We can’t have people drive by a hospital that may have 10% capacity more for ventilators or other things COVID patients need, and then pull up into the [emergency room] of a hospital that’s super saturated,” Fox said in a WXYZ story.

Concerning OU, Pescovitz continues to speak up about her faith in the university community. She recommends everyone responds to the current unprecedented circumstances with courage and compassion.

We’re so proud of what our Oakland University community is doing,” she said. “It’s just beyond remarkable.”

As of right now, Beaumont’s hospital systems are not yet at capacity. The Oakland Post will continue publishing further developments to this story.