State now requiring regular testing, timely reporting of COVID-19 cases at nursing homes

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 19:13:33-04

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that it is now requiring "regular testing and timely and accurate reporting of cases, deaths" related to COVID-19. Additionally, Michigan nursing homes must also report personal protective equipment and staffing shortages.

Related: 34% of COVID-19 deaths, 12% of cases in Michigan came from nursing homes

More specifically, the Order requires nursing facilities to conduct the following COVID-19 testing for residents and staff:

  • Initial testing of all residents and staff.
  • Testing of all new or returning residents during intake unless tested within 72 hours of intake.
  • Testing of any resident or staff member with symptoms or suspected exposure.
  • Weekly testing of all previously negative residents and staff in facilities with any positive cases among residents or staff, until 14 days after the last new positive result.
  • Weekly testing of all staff in regions of medium or higher risk on the MI Safe Start Map [].
  • Testing of all staff in Regions 1 through 5 and 7, at least once between the date of this order and July 3, 2020.

“As we continue working to protect Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19 and lower the chance of a second wave, we must do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable Michiganders and those frontline workers who care for them,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Continuous testing and proper staffing are crucial to that effort. As we continue to safely reopen sectors of our economy, Director Gordon and I will keep working with our partners in health care to ensure protections for our most vulnerable populations and for the brave men and women on the front lines fighting this virus.”

MDHHS also announced several additional efforts to protect nursing facility residents:

  • Direct support for rapid response staff who can provide immediate support to long-term care facilities facing urgent staffing shortages due to COVID. Beginning in Southeast and West Michigan, the Department will help to make available, for up to 14 days, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, personal care aides, and other key staff.
  • Coordination with Doctors Without Borders [] to help identify long-term care facilities in need of assistance with their infection prevention and control practices. Doctors Without Borders is sending mobile teams to assess facility practices and provide tailored recommendations for improvement.
  • Improved targeting of the Infection Prevention Resource and Assessment Team (IPRAT), which is helping nursing facilities complete the CDC Infection Control and Assessment Response Tool. More than 300 have completed the tool to date. IPRAT will now target its support to Regional Hubs and other facilities based on data from LARA. At the same time the Department will begin decommissioning some regional hubs due to reduced demand.

More information can be found here.

On Monday, Gov. Whitmer also extended an existing order providing protections for staff and residents in long-term facilities. Those protections include allowing employees to stay home when exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus while protecting them from adverse action from their employer. Read more of that order here.

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