By Jessica Mathews /

A new state order has been issued to help protect residents and staff at nursing facilities from COVID-19.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an order Monday requiring regular testing and timely and accurate reporting of cases, deaths, personal protective equipment and staffing shortages. Gordon said they took the time to make the report as accurate as possible and are now doing everything in their power to protect nursing facility residents through mandatory testing, support for adequate staffing, and new efforts at infection control. The Order requires nursing facilities to conduct expanded COVID-19 testing for residents and staff. Nursing facilities are required to submit plans for testing by June 22nd and implement those plans by June 29th.

In addition to the various measures being instituted, the MDHHS is announcing the results of its comprehensive effort to validate nursing facility data on COVID-related cases and deaths. As of June 14th, there have been 7,163 cases and 1,947 deaths among patients in nursing facilities - with 4,919 patients recovered or recovering. In addition, there have been 3,133 cases and 20 deaths among staff. The state says that represents cumulative data recorded since January 1st. Those numbers are said to reflect an extensive data validation effort led by DHHS, involving outreach to each of the state’s nursing facilities to confirm key data fields, ensure that facilities were aware of state and federal reporting expectations, and troubleshoot barriers to reporting.

Governor Whitmer also signed another executive order on Monday. It extends a previous order through July 12th protecting staff and residents in long-term care facilities from the spread of COVID-19, including by ensuring that employees who stay home when exhibiting symptoms are protected from adverse action. The order establishes a system of regional hubs for care of COVID-19-affected residents, and requires nursing homes to take special precautions when a resident exhibit symptoms. The MDHHS also announced several additional efforts to protect nursing facility residents.

A link to the full press release and recent numbers is available through the link.