Theis reacts to state’s new COVID-19 nursing home order

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Lana Theis released the following statement on Wednesday after Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an order on Monday requiring regular testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases and deaths, as well as reporting personal protective equipment levels and staffing shortages at the state’s nursing homes.

“Over one-third of all COVID-19-related deaths in the state and most of the deaths in Livingston and Washtenaw counties occurred among patients from nursing homes,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “This incredible loss of life likely could have been mitigated had MDHHS not made the decision to bring COVID-19 patients into these facilities in the first place. I called on the administration to put a stop to it back in April before the first nursing-home-related executive order was issued. Sadly, they didn’t. Director Gordon’s order is too little too late, and of no consolation to the thousands of families of those residents who perished from the disease.

“COVID-19-positive patients shouldn’t have been placed in the same facility as our most vulnerable citizens, especially before the requirements in Director Gordon’s most recent order were possible. Frankly, this announcement only brings more questions, and the people of Michigan deserve answers they have been waiting months to receive: Why now, and why didn’t you protect them sooner?”

Theis initially expressed concern in April about placing recovering COVID-19 patients in nursing homes, requesting the practice be stopped in an April 14 letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and the Livingston County Health Department.

Theis said she has yet to receive a response to the letter.

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