MDHHS director defends Michigan’s count of COVID deaths in nursing homes

The debate over how many Michiganders died of COVID in nursing homes and long-term care facilities took center stage in Lansing on Thursday. It comes in the wake of an Auditor General review that found a different number than the state did. Michigan’s health director was questioned.

LANSING, Mich. – The debate over how many Michiganders died of COVID in nursing homes and long-term care facilities took center stage in Lansing on Thursday.

It comes in the wake of an Auditor General review that found a different number than the state did. Michigan’s health director was questioned.

Michigan has the 14th most COVID deaths of people living in nursing homes. More than 4,000, according to the CDC.

The Michigan Auditor General report of long-term care facility deaths through last July turned up 2,386 more deaths than Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported.

MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel took exception with the Auditor General’s report, saying some facilities that reported deaths did not have to and when they did -- using the Michigan Disease Surveillance System -- it skewed the numbers.

Watch the video above for the full report.



About the Author:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.