DOUGLAS, Mich. — A nursing home on the lakeshore is restricting visitors to protect its vulnerable residents as the novel coronavirus impacts Michigan. 

Grace of Douglas made the call after Gov. Whitmer announced the first two positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. 

"It's a necessary step because the unknown is huge in this situation," said Chad Underly, the licensed nursing home administrator at Grace.

The facility established visiting hours between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. However, leaders are asking family members not to visit unless it's absolutely necessary. 

"We're not pushing our residents' family members away with the purpose of overkill," Underly said. "We need to be proactive and stay on the front end of this because once you have someone with an infection in the facility, it's a very bad situation for everybody."'

The coronavirus poses a larger risk to older people and those with chronic medical conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Employees have started taking the temperatures of every person entering the building. Visitors are also asked whether they've recently traveled out of the country or been in proximity to a person with a positive case of COVID-19. 

This is a difficult transition because people here like getting visitors, said Dennis Coles, who is living at Grace temporarily while he recovers from a surgery. 

"[But], we don't know how fast this thing's gonna spread," Coles said. "It's better safe than sorry and to start early."

Staff at Grace are receiving additional training to prepare for a potential positive case, Underly said. 

"In the blink of an eye it can change," he said. "Anything we can do to prevent an illness from coming into our care community is our goal."

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