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Governor Whitmer Maintains Protections for Congregate Care Residents and Staff During the COVID-19 Pandemic


August 28, 2020 

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Governor Whitmer Maintains Protections for Congregate Care Residents and Staff During the COVID-19 Pandemic 


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer continued to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable populations, including those in nursing homes and congregate care facilities, by signing Executive Order 2020-174. The governor’s order continues the limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities previously imposed by Executive Order 2020-156The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) remains empowered to specify exceptions to these restrictions, and should carefully consider the recommendations of the upcoming Nursing Home Task Force report in doing so. 


“We know this virus is a killer that preys on our most vulnerable citizens. That’s why it’s crucial that we remain vigilant and continue our work to protect our most vulnerable residents and those who have dedicated their lives to caring for them,” said Governor Whitmer. “Federal leadership on this issue has been absent, which is why I created a nursing home task force to ensure Michigan has coordinated and steady leadership on this critical issue. I look forward to hearing their recommendations and working closely with them to ensure the continued protection of nursing home residents and staff.” 


Executive Order 2020-174 maintains restrictions on visitation to health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities, while authorizing the Department of Health and Human Services to gradually re-open visitation as circumstances permit. This policy has been in place since March, and consistently prohibited entry into a nursing home by a person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. 


The health and safety of nursing home residents and staff remains a top priority for Governor Whitmer. On June 26, she created the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which is charged with, among other things, analyzing relevant data on the threat of COVID-19 in nursing homes, and making recommendations to the governor on improving data quality, and releasing periodic reports to the governor on its findings and recommendations. The task force must produce a recommendation to the governor for an action plan on how to prepare nursing homes for any future wave of COVID-19 cases by August 31, 2020. 


Additionally, on June 15, DHHS issued an order requiring initial testing of all residents and staff, testing of all new/returning residents during intake, testing any resident or staff member with symptoms or suspected exposure, weekly testing of all residents or staff in facilities with any positive case, until 14 days after last positive test, and weekly testing of all staff in regions of medium or high risk on the MI Safe Start Map. To date, the state has facilitated testing for over 40,837 residents and staff in nursing homes. 


Executive Order 2020-174 extends through September 30.    


To view Executive Order 2020-174, click the link below: