The Department of Justice is requesting data from governors, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, that issued COVID-19 orders that may have resulted in deaths of nursing home residents.
In addition to Michigan, letters were sent to the governors of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The DOJ said in a press release that the data will help inform whether investigations will be initiated under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.
“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband in a press release. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”
Whitmer's Press Secretary Tiffany Brown issued the following statement commenting on the letter:
"Protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of our seniors and most vulnerable residents has been a top priority throughout this crisis. The fact that this letter was sent during the middle of the Republican National Convention week to four Democratic governors should make it crystal clear that this is nothing more than election year politics by an administration that is more concerned with the president's re-election campaign than protecting Michigan seniors. We will review this letter and respond as appropriate, however, Americans would all be better served if the Trump administration stopped the partisan games and focused on delivering a real plan to defeat COVID-19."
Whitmer has previously said that there has not been a single instance where the state ordered nursing homes to keep COVID-19 patients.
She said the state followed CDC guidance to allow nursing home residents to come back after they were hospitalized as long as they had a separate unit that was separately staffed.
View the letter to Whitmer below:
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.