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Health Care Association: Nursing home workers need more testing, protective equipment

Michigan is now listing specific data about COVID-19 cases in nursing homes
Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 22:49:36-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now reporting nursing home COVID-19 cases and listing specifically where each one is found.

Residents of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable to contract coronavirus.

New state data shows that as of Friday nearly 6% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases are patients at long-term care facilities.

“They're sick individuals so you have a virus that, unfortunately is going to impact this population no matter all of the protocols and guidance and precautions that we've put in place at the direction of the state and federal government. It's impossible to just somehow say that it's not going to get into these facilities,” Health Care Association of Michigan President Melissa Samuel said.

HCAM is calling for more personal protective equipment and testing for workers at long term care facilities, both of which Samuel believes can help slow the spread of the virus to the most vulnerable.

“Those issues of everybody having adequate PPE and adequate testing has not been solved. They have not even come close to being solved. And it has gotten a little better. Yes, but does everybody have the appropriate PP that they need consistently that they need? No,” Samuel said.

“It's the ongoing issue of testing, so we know where we're at with residents and staff and then once you know the situation that you have the appropriate resources to, you know, mitigate the spread,” she added.

Samuel says these facilities, their workers and the patients need more support than ever.

“I think that nursing facilities are doing an amazing job in the face of an incredibly difficult situation. They care deeply about their residents and staff. I think that what's most important in all of this is that we recognize that we lift our nursing facility providers up that we that we lift their staff up, and that we thank them for going in every day to doing the job in the face of very challenging circumstances,” Samuel said.

The state health departments say the presence of COVID-19 at these facilities does not indicate they are not following proper procedures.

Earlier this week Governor Gretchen Whitmer opened testing for all essential workers whether or not they show symptoms.