This week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-50, to establish procedures in long-term care facilities to protect the health and safety of both their employees and residents.
At Michigan’s long-term care facilities, residents and employees live and work in confined spaces, and the lack of personal protective equipment makes it difficult to engage in the precautionary measures recommended by the CDC. Due to the nature of the care provided in these facilities and the vulnerable status of their residents, multiple positive test results of COVID-19 threaten the safety of the entire facility. The governor’s executive order is aimed at protecting both residents and staff in those facilities from the spread of COVID-19.
“The spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on residents and employees at Michigan’s long-term care facilities,” said Gov. Whitmer. “That’s why I am taking action to implement policies that will protect the most people we can in those facilities. I know this is a hard time for Michigan’s elderly residents, their families, and the hardworking staff who work with them every day. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect Michiganders everywhere from the spread of this virus. We will get through this together.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will work with long-term care facilities across the state to establish COVID-19 designated regional hubs. These hubs will provide higher levels of care and services to treat patients with increased needs. All other nursing facilities will continue providing care in a traditional manner which may include the care of patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but do not require specialized care and services.
To slow the spread of the virus, if a resident is known to display COVID-19 symptoms, a long-term care facility will be required to inform both employees and residents, and take additional precautions as outlined in the order. To slow the spread of COVID-19, the order requires nursing homes to have separate units for residents who test positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, supplied with appropriate PPE. Finally, the order ensures that residents of long-term care facilities get the medical care they need and have access to a safe environment that can meet their needs once they are medically stable.
“The residents and dedicated employees at our long-term care facilities are some of the most vulnerable people when it comes to the spread of COVID-19, and we must do everything we can to protect them,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “This executive order will help ensure that our long-term care facilities are using best practices to keep their residents and employees safe.”
Executive order 2020-50 also protects residents from being evicted and protects employees from retaliation for staying home when exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms to mitigate the risk of infecting others under Executive Order 2020-36. Additionally, the order uses CDC guidelines to establish precautionary measures within long-term care facilities.
To view Executive Order 2020-50, click the link below: