Gov. Whitmer signs order extending protection for Michigan residents, staff members at long-term care facilities

Executive Order 2020-191 effective immediately


LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Wednesday to extend protection for residents and staff members at long-term care facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Executive Order 2020-191, which is a rescission of Executive Order 2020-179, “maintains the strong infection control protocols in nursing homes the governor put in place at the outset of this crisis, and protects residents from eviction and employees from retaliatory action for staying home when exhibiting symptoms,” read a press release from Whitmer’s Office.

The order is effective immediately.

“From day one, I have taken action to protect both seniors and staff in long-term care facilities from COVID-19. We know this virus is a killer that preys on our most vulnerable citizens,” Whitmer said. “That’s why we have been working around the clock to protect our seniors and aggressively following CDC guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. I signed an order months ago requiring testing for all residents and staff and new residents, and my administration has helped get nursing homes thousands of tests. Federal leadership on this issue has been absent, which is why I created a nursing home task force to ensure Michigan at least has coordinated and steady leadership on this critical issue. We still need the president to do the right thing and develop a national strategy to protect our families, frontline workers, and our most vulnerable populations from COVID-19.”

The order also requires nursing homes to inform legal guardians or health proxies of a confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Recommendations from the task force as well as the order and a policy bulletin released from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) established Care and Recovery Centers.

According to the press release, the centers “will be care units dedicated exclusively to caring for and isolating COVID-19-affected residents.”

The order also requires nursing homes to inform legal guardians or health proxies of residents or employees testing positive. A notice of the confirmed case must be in display at the main entrance of the facility until 14 days after the last positive test.

Communal dining prohibition lifted

The order lifts a previous prohibition on communal dining and requires both communal dining and group activities to be conducted under guidance from MDHHS and The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.