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People demand change in state's COVID-19 nursing home policy

Posted at 7:48 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 06:30:21-04

LANSING, Mich. — COVID-19 stats in nursing homes have people demanding Governor Whitmer change the state's controversial policy of placing positive residents in with people who don't have the disease.

Around 29% of all COVID-19 deaths in Michigan have been in nursing homes. As of Wednesday there are 2,328 cases in long-term care facilities.

Beverly Sloothaak's cousin lives stays at the Ingham County Medical Care Facility in Okemos, which currently has 7 COVID-19 positive residents.

"That is very concerning," said Sloothataak. "All her meals are being brought to her. She stays in her room. They do take a walk down the hallway. I would have to ask and make sure they're not taking her down a hallway toward the COVID patients to make sure her separation if effective her whole time."

Sloothaak made the trip more than 70 miles from Grand Rapids for her cousin's 97th birthday, even though she couldn't go inside. The long-term care facility isn't one of the 20 regional hubs the state set up, but one of three nursing homes in Ingham County with positive residents.

State officials said last week, death reporting numbers in nursing homes weren't accurate. Sloothaak wants change and more transparency from the Governor.

"I want them to be honest and that's where my problem lies. It's not just is she going to help, but are they being honest with their statistics," said Sloothaak.

Frustrated with the process and lack of answers, State Senator Peter Lucido (R- Shelby Twp.) is calling for an investigation into Governor Whitmer's emergency orders.

"I want the Attorney General and I want the U.S. Attorneys Office to independently look at policy practices and the law to see if we've met the standards of the law. I know that there's certain medical standards that need to be met. You don't just get a pass in taking care of patients in patient care because there's a pandemic," said Lucido.

Governor Whitmer has defended the order saying facilities are not mandated to take patients, but changes could be on the horizon. Lucido says regardless if the policy changes or not it shouldn't have happened in the first place and is putting the vulnerable at risk.

"You don't mix apples and oranges, you come up wit a fruit salad. It's ridiculous what they did and that policy that was implemented what's done without any common sense whatsoever. I just want to make sure that the greatest generation that has ever lived has the greatest protection that there is in Michigan," said Lucido.

The Executive Order in question expires Wednesday. The Governor's Office has not yet responded for comment about the investigation.

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