By Mike Kruzman /

A local legislator is continuing her fight to keep COVID-19 patients out of nursing homes.

State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township has sponsored a resolution approved by the Michigan House calling to end Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s policy of placing coronavirus patients into long-term care facilities. Bollin said that placing people who tested positive for COVID-19 under the same roof as older and vulnerable residents who otherwise wouldn’t have contact with the disease was a mistake. She called it an “illogical policy that must end immediately.” Roughly one-third of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths have been nursing home residents, including 15 of Livingston County’s 28 deaths, as of Friday, according to a release by Bollin.

Under current policy, nursing homes without dedicated spaces for COVID-19 patients are required to send them to regional hubs which were approved by the state health department. An executive order issued by Whitmer required to the hubs to take patients. Bollin points to alternatives, like field hospitals in Detroit and Novi, that saw few admissions and have since been closed. The representative said that having doctors and nurses sit there idly while nursing homes were forced to treat patients made no sense.

Bollin has called for the governor’s administration to release more information related to this policy, and has sent a letter asking Whitmer to release the data she is using to make her decision. Bollin said the governor’s response stated that it was forwarded to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and that she has yet to receive a response from them.

Lynn Sutfin, the MDHHS Chief Information Officer, called it a, "difficult situation" adding that it was wrong to pretend otherwise. "With a limited supply of PPE for a limited number of residential options, the State used its best judgment to address a crisis situation. The tragic outcomes in Michigan are generally consistent with those in other states. Protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our seniors and most vulnerable residents remains a top priority. We are actively working with those who are looking to improve safety with realistic approaches and real solutions. For most of this pandemic, testing supplies have been in short supply and needed to be prioritized for those exhibiting symptoms. More widespread testing is now available, allowing for enhanced testing in the state’s nursing facilities." Sutfin added, "Mandating this level of testing previously would have required nursing facilities to fulfill a requirement that could not be met. The order issued this week also ensures ongoing attention to infection prevention, which is critical to slowing and stopping the spread of the virus."

Bollin says she is committed to serving as the voice of seniors in the community, and that she won’t stop fighting until she sees the data and this policy ends.