By Jessica Mathews /

A candidate for state representative in the 47th district has filed a Freedom of Information Act request requesting information related to COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Meghan Reckling of Handy Township sent the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services a four-page FOIA request on behalf of Livingston County residents. In a press release, Reckling said she has talked to several families from Livingston County who lost a loved one after COVID-19 patients were moved into the same facility as their family member as a result of Executive Orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Reckling says the median age of Michigan COVID-19 patients is 77 and says the virus is exacting a grim toll in nursing homes across the state. “The Governor has consistently bragged about her transparency; however, for over a month, she and her Administration have refused to publicly release information related to COVID-19 and nursing homes. That sends a bad message. Is the data worse than we know? The senior population in nursing homes and long-term care facilities is the most tracked population in Michigan. Grandma cannot take a Tylenol without them tracking it. There is no way the State of Michigan does not have this information”

Her FOIA request seeks information regarding the total number of tests that have been administered to nursing home and long-term care patients, the total number of positive or suspected positive COVID-19 patients, the total number of patients that passed away either “at home” or in the hospital and it was deemed they passed away from COVID-19 or anything related to COVID-19; and the number of staff who work at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, on a facility-by-facility basis, that have tested positive for COVID-19 or are assumed to have it.

Reckling is one of four Republicans vying to replace State Representative Hank Vaupel, who is term-limited. Also running for the GOP nomination is County Commissioner Bob Bezotte, along with Yvonne Black of Marion Township and Zach Dyba, assistant to the Brighton Township manager. The winner of the August 4th primary will face Democrat Adam Smiddy in November.

The full press release and FOIA request are attached. A request for comment was made to Gov. Whitmer's office, but went unreturned. However, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday that preliminary numbers released by the state indicate there have been at least 1,216 coronavirus-related deaths and 4,920 cases of infection associated with Michigan nursing homes. The paper says Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon presented those numbers during a state Senate oversight committee hearing Wednesday afternoon.