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Rep. Berman: Governor’s nursing home plan for COVID-19 proving fatal
RELEASE|June 11, 2020
Contact: Ryan Berman

State Rep. Ryan Berman, of Commerce Township, today introduced a House Resolution opposing policies which have put the lives of Michigan seniors in danger.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has continued on with a COVID-19 response plan that places COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities – putting individuals who have tested positive under the same roof as healthy residents. Other states that had implemented the same strategy, such as New York, have since reversed course.

One of the first revelations from the outbreak of COVID-19 across the country was that senior citizens, especially those in nursing homes, were especially vulnerable to the virus. Limited reports indicate roughly 25 percent of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths have been nursing home residents, and more detailed information has not been made available.

“The governor says that data and facts are driving her public health decisions. You would think the roughly 1,600 nursing home resident deaths statewide and the average Michigan nursing home resident being over 80 are two strong data points against her current policy,” Berman said. “Long-term care facilities were never at the top of the governor’s priority list to receive personal protective equipment and staffing levels at these facilities are insufficient. They were never meant to serve as wards for people with a deadly virus. I am asking the governor to stop this senseless and irresponsible practice.”

Nursing homes without dedicated spaces to isolate and tend to COVID-19 patients are required to send them to regional hubs – a separate nursing home which has been approved by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. A May 20 executive order requires the hubs to accept patients.

Berman noted more than half of these regional hubs are located in southeast Michigan, in areas that have been the most impacted by COVID-19.

“At one of her own press conferences and in testimony before a United States House of Representatives subcommittee, the governor has openly admitted her COVID-19 nursing home policy has flaws,” Berman said. “But this hasn’t just been a mistake with a few flaws. It’s been a fatal error in judgment from the very beginning and it is still continuing to this day.”

HR 276 has been referred to the House Health Policy Committee for consideration.

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