Michigan Gov. Whitmer adjusts coronavirus safety policies on nursing homes, communal meals, activities

Gretchen Whitmer speaks about COVID-19 affect on Michigan

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke more about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its affect on the state, including changes to her policies on nursing homes, communal meals and activities.

Whitmer said we’ve learned much more about the virus in the last six months, and while it’s still a threat, we have a far better handle on it than before.

“We’ve all got to continue to take this seriously,” Whitmer said. “It’s not going to last forever.”

Whitmer felt the need to change her nursing home policy Wednesday night, moving away from the “hub” system that put COVID-19 positive patients just out of the hospital into homes with otherwise healthy residents.

Now, Whitmer wants those patients to be put into newly classified care and recovery centers -- nursing homes with higher quality ratings.

At the same time, she’s loosening some of the communal meals and activities restrictions, as long as they are socially distanced.

“People can resume a little bit of normalcy,” Whitmer said. “We know that our older people are uniquely vulnerable to this virus.”

Many in the Michigan legislature wanted the patients in separate medical facilities. The state spent millions of dollars on it.

Whitmer extended the $1 million per month least through the end of the year, even though few patients were sent there.

“We need to have some plan in the event we start to see a climb again," Whitmer said. “The last thing we want is for that to happen, but we need to be prepared.”

She also touched on the possibility of Detroit Lions fans going to Ford Field for games.

“We don’t have on-site immediate testing,” Whitmer said. “That would be really important to be successful in that space. We are continuing to work toward that goal, and it’s our hope to meet it soon, but we’re not there yet.”

Whitmer said there is considerable promise in the nine vaccine clinical trials out there, and she believes the therapeutics being tested do, too.

She said the best protection against the virus is still to wear masks.

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