'It's just plain false.' State did not order nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients, Whitmer says

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Jun 24, 2020

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she did not order nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients at the height of the outbreak in an interview with 7 Action News.

On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate approved a bill that would prohibit individuals from being admitted or retained for care in a nursing home if they test positive for COVID-19 and have not since recovered, or unless the nursing home is able to provide a preapproved designated area and a program to demonstrate its ability to retain the individual in their facility and provide the appropriate care necessary for the patient.

“Nursing homes and long-term care facilities were never equipped to deal with a virus like COVID-19 that has impacted our elderly and vulnerable populations,” said State Senator Peter Lucido, who sponsored the legislation, in a Facebook post. “With more than one-third of the state’s COVID-19 related deaths occurring among patients from nursing homes, it is clear this never should have happened. My bill would help ensure that it never, ever happens again in our state.”

“Why did the governor issue her executive order and why did she keep reissuing executive orders keeping COVID-19 patients in nursing homes with our most vulnerable citizens when other governors, who initially made the same terrible mistake, revoked their orders?” Lucido asked. “Why is the legislature having to fight the governor to protect our elderly and the infirmed from her months-old mistakes?”

Whitmer said there has not been a single instance where the state ordered nursing homes to keep COVID-19 patients.

She said the state followed CDC guidance to allow nursing home residents to come back after they were hospitalized as long as they had a separate unit that was separately staffed.

"That was the CDC guidelines, that's what we followed," she said. "We never required a single nursing home to take in a patient that was recovering from COVID-19, it's just plain false."

As of June 15, there have been 7,163 cases and 1,947 deaths among patients in nursing facilities.

Nearly 34% of the deaths from COVID-19 and 12% of the cases in the state came from nursing facilities. More than 1 in 4 people who contracted COVID-19 in a nursing facility died.

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