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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Nursing home residents represent nearly one-quarter of coronavirus deaths in Michigan

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 3:22 PM

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Far more nursing home residents have died from the coronavirus in Michigan than previously disclosed.

At least 23% of the more than 5,300 COVID-19 deaths in Michigan were nursing home residents, according to data released Wednesday to a Senate committee, the Gongwer News Service reports. Of the state’s more than 55,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, about 9%, or 4,920 involved nursing homes.

But the actual number of cases and deaths are likely higher because the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has not received data from some nursing homes and counties. The state has come under fire for failing to adequately track the coronavirus' impact on nursing homes and other long-care facilities where the populations are very vulnerable.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also has been criticized for requiring nursing homes under 80% capacity to accept COVID-19 patients, which critics say likely raised the death toll.

About three-quarters of the nursing home deaths occurred in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

The state reported 271 nursing home deaths in Macomb County, 421 in Oakland County, and 367 in Wayne County. The death toll is much lower than the individual counties are reporting.

“That tells us we’re going to find out about more deaths,” DHHHS Director Robert Gordon told the committee.

A New York Times analysis found that about a third of the COVID-19 deaths nationwide came from nursing homes and long-care facilities.

The state’s nursing home numbers don’t include assisted living centers, adult foster care homes, and senior housing.

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