New Order Requires Coronavirus Tests for All Nursing Home Residents and Staff
LANSING - On June 15, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order requiring coronavirus tests for all Michigan nursing home residents and staff members and for the results from each facility to be reported to the state.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon is requiring regular testing for staff and residents of nursing facilities, timely and accurate reporting of cases, deaths, personal protective equipment and staffing shortages.
Following an extensive data evaluation effort led by the DHHS, there have been 7,163 cases and 1,947 deaths among patients in nursing facilities with 4,919 patients recovered or recovering as of June 14. In addition, there have been 3,133 cases and 20 deaths among staff.
The executive order requires nursing facilities to conduct the following COVID-19 testing for residents and staff:
- Initial testing of all residents and staff.
- Testing of all new or returning residents during intake unless tested within 72 hours of intake.
- Testing of any resident or staff member with symptoms or suspected exposure.
- Weekly testing of all previously negative residents and staff in facilities with any positive cases among residents or staff, until 14 days after the last new positive result.
- Weekly testing of all staff in regions of medium or higher risk on the MI Safe Start Map.
- Testing of all staff in Regions 1 through 5 and 7, at least once between the date of this order and July 3, 2020.
Nursing homes are required to submit plans for testing by June 22 and to implement those plans by June 29.
Facilities that do not report required data are subject to a $1,000 fine for each violation or for each day that a violation continues according to the news release.
The order says facility staff who are not permitted to come to work because they test positive for COVID-19 are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
The MDHHS is also deploying rapid response teams to help nursing facilities with staffing shortages.
Gov. Whitmer also extended nursing home coronavirus safety measures through July 12, including requirements for employees with coronavirus symptoms to stay home, a system of regional hubs to care for patients and special precautions for facilities whenever a resident exhibits symptoms of COVID-19.