By Mike Kruzman /

State Senator Lana Theis is asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to stop allowing recovering COVID-19 patients in nursing homes, after a local resident became infected with the virus.

The Republican State Senator from Brighton Township made the request in a letter written to Whitmer, Tuesday. Theis says it comes from a place of “immense concern and safety” for the “vulnerable elderly populations in Livingston and Washtenaw counties, and throughout the state.” Last week, it was confirmed that a woman in a Howell nursing home had contracted the virus after the home had opened up its doors to recovering patients that had been discharged from a hospital.

Theis wrote that “the decision to house recovering COVID-19 patients seems like an incredibly dangerous decision, and completely counter to the Executive Order” that Governor Whitmer has issued twice. She continues, saying that “given that 64% of deceased COVID-19 patients in Michigan are over the age of 70, it does not make sense to unnecessarily increase the risk” to the most vulnerable populations by moving people who have already been infected. Theis wrote that she respectfully suggests this practice be immediately discontinued, and that such persons be relocated to alternative sites, like existing field hospitals that have been built for the express purpose of housing patients.

Earlier this month, Dr. Juan Marquez, Medical Director of Livingston County Health Department said that it was important they be able to "safely discharge patients to non-hospital settings when appropriate to help hospitals continue to treat critically ill patients affected by COVID-19.” But Livingston County Health Department Director/Health Officer Diane McCormick told WHMI the LCHD's role is more of a consultative one, and being informed that a long-term care facility is considering or taking on COVID-19 patients. They don't license, inspect, or are a part of the regulations of the care facilities. It is the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, in conjunction with the state health department that provides guidance for long-term care facilities to accept COVID-19 patients, thus assisting in freeing up hospital bed space. The facilities, she says, are under the guidance of a medical director at the state level, and that it is the state health department that looks at a facility's infection control plan and has discussions on how they might safely house patients. McCormick said any calls and concerns they get in that arena are referred to the state, as they are more intimately familiar with the facilities and their processes in this matter.

Per the latest numbers reported by the state; there’s been another COVID-19 death in Livingston County. There are now 238 confirmed local cases and six deaths. That’s an increase of 13 cases and one death since yesterday. Across Michigan, there are now 27,001 confirmed cases and 1,768 deaths. That marked a daily increase of 1,366 cases and 166 deaths.

A copy of Theis’ letter can be found below.