LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Thursday approved a resolution denouncing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s policy placing COVID-19-postive residents with uninfected residents in nursing homes.
“Gov. Whitmer has defended her decision by saying there were many unknowns about coronavirus when it first arrived in Michigan. There were. But its effect on the elderly was not one of them,” said Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton. “Doctors warned from day one that older people were at the greatest risk of death from COVID-19. Despite this, our governor still decided to place sick patients in facilities with one of our most vulnerable populations.”
Senate Resolution 125 states that more than 87% of Michigan deaths from the disease have occurred among Michiganders who were 60 years of age or older, and it cites Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-50, requiring nursing homes with a census below 80% to create a dedicated unit for the care of COVID-19-affected residents.
The governor issued EO 2020-50 on April 15. Several requests were made to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Whitmer administration to release important nursing facility data — including data regarding deaths — related to how COVID-19 was affecting these facilities.
It wasn’t until two months later, on June 15, that this data was reported by the state. Only then did residents learn how severely COVID-19 has ravaged Michigan nursing homes, with more than 1,900 deaths occurring in these facilities — more than a third of all Michigan deaths from the disease.
Nesbitt says the administration has been inexcusably unresponsive to calls for releasing vital nursing home data and because of this, it has been difficult to observe the full impact of the governor’s policies. The senator added that Michigan residents deserve better and that answers are needed.
“A resolution cannot reverse time or change the results of the governor’s tragic decision. However, our bipartisan vote today is a clear message to our governor,” Nesbitt said. “It is a plea on behalf of our constituents — from those who have lost parents or grandparents. They deserve answers. We must replace these flawed policies with measures that will protect nursing home residents rather than bringing the dangers of a global pandemic to their doorsteps.”
Copies of SR 125 will be transmitted to the governor.
Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorAricNesbitt.com. Click on “Photos” under the “In the News” tab. Video of Nesbitt’s speech on the Senate floor is available on his website under the “Video” tab or by clicking here.
Photo caption: Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, delivers a speech on the Senate floor Thursday morning condemning the governor’s decision to place COVID-19-postive residents with uninfected residents in nursing homes.