DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended an Executive Order that restricts visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Executive Order 2020-136 extends existing safety measures to maintain restrictions regarding entry to care facilities designed to protect vulnerable populations. Since it was first issued on March 14, this order has prohibited entry into a nursing home without undergoing a rigorous screening protocol designed to protect facilities from COVID-19. The order is effective immediately and continues through July 24, 2020.
About 34 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan have been reported in long-term care facilities.
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“We have taken great strides here in Michigan to protect families from the spread of COVID-19 and lower the chance of a second wave, but it’s crucial that we stay vigilant and work around the clock to protect our most vulnerable residents and those who have dedicated their lives to caring for them,” said Governor Whitmer. “These actions will help our state protect more nursing home residents and staff in the case of a second wave. Moving forward, I will work closely with the task force and with everyone who wants to help us protect our most vulnerable communities, the heroes on the front lines, and our families from this virus.”
Gov. Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-135, which creates the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force will be charged with, among other things, analyzing relevant data on the threat of COVID-19 in nursing homes, and making recommendations to the governor on improving data quality, and releasing periodic reports to the governor on its findings and recommendations. The task force must produce a recommendation to the governor for an action plan on how to prepare nursing homes for any future wave of COVID-19 cases by August 31, 2020.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a particularly dire threat to the health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities across the country,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “This task force will help us continue to work to protect our most vulnerable residents and the caretakers serving on the front lines.”
The Task Force will consist of leaders across state government, including representatives from DHHS and LARA. The task force will also include a representative of the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, bipartisan representation from both houses of the legislature (2 members from each house), and thirteen other members appointed by the governor, including individuals with a personal or professional interest in the health, safety, and welfare of nursing home residents and workers.