Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday to maintain temporary visitation restrictions at health care facilities and nursing homes amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to a press release from Whitmer’s Office, Executive Order 2020-174 “continues the limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities previously imposed by Executive Order 2020-156.”
The order extends through Sept. 30.
Under the order, all visitors and staff of residential care facilities, congregate care facilities or juvenile justice facilities must wear a mask when indoors or within six feet of another person.
Facilities must also conduct health evaluations for anyone not under the care of the facility each time they enter.
“We know this virus is a killer that preys on our most vulnerable citizens,” Whitmer said in the press release. “That’s why it’s crucial that we remain vigilant and continue our work to protect our most vulnerable residents and those who have dedicated their lives to caring for them.
“Federal leadership on this issue has been absent, which is why I created a nursing home task force to ensure Michigan has coordinated and steady leadership on this critical issue. I look forward to hearing their recommendations and working closely with them to ensure the continued protection of nursing home residents and staff,” Whitmer added.
Whitmer created the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force in June within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The task force was instructed by the governor to recommend an action plan for preparing nursing homes for any future waves of COVID-19 cases by Aug. 31.
The MDHHS issued an order on June 15 requiring COVID-19 testing of all residents and staff, new and returning residents during intake, and any resident or staff member with symptoms or suspected exposure. Nursing homes were also required to test all residents and staff for COVID-19 weekly in facilities with a positive case, in addition to weekly testing of all staff in regions of medium or high risk.
In Detroit, about 1,600 nursing home workers planned a strike earlier this month due to concerns about the safety of residents during the pandemic.