Whitmer creates bipartisan task force to study COVID-19 in Michigan nursing homes

Posted at 1:56 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 17:25:46-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive orders that create a new bipartisan task force for Michigan nursing homes.

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

The order creates the Michigan Nursing Home COVID_19 Preparedness Task Force within the state Department of Health and Human Services.

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

“We have taken great strides here in Michigan to protect families from the spread of COVID-19 and lower the chance of a second wave, but it’s crucial that we stay vigilant and work around the clock to protect our most vulnerable residents and those who have dedicated their lives to caring for them,” said Governor Whitmer. “These actions will help our state protect more nursing home residents and staff in the case of a second wave. Moving forward, I will work closely with the task force and with everyone who wants to help us protect our most vulnerable communities, the heroes on the front lines, and our families from this virus.”

The task force will analyze data on the COVID-19 threat in nursing homes, make recommendations on improving data quality, and release reports.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a particularly dire threat to the health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities across the country,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “This task force will help us continue to work to protect our most vulnerable residents and the caretakers serving on the front lines.”

State government leaders will be on the task force, including representatives from the DHHS and LARA. It will also include a representative of the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, bipartisan representation from both houses of the legislature – two members from each house – and 13 other members appointed by the governor.

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