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Lawmaker calls for action to ensure nursing homes consistently report COVID-19 cases

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 18:58:10-04
(WXYZ) —

Without good data, how can you make good decisions? That is the question that one state lawmaker is asking as she watches the state and feds struggle to keep track of how our seniors in nursing homes are being impacted by COVID-19.

Representative Leslie Love (D-Detroit) says it is personal. She knows how helpless it feels to watch the virus spread in the long term care home where someone you love lives.

First, her mom’s roommate became ill. Then her mom became ill.

“I have seen her go into comas, go through death and back, and survive COVID. And she is still kicking and fighting. I am so proud of her. How can you do that? My mom is 83 and she is still kicking ass,” said Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit).

Her mom is a statistic. But the question is, what are the numbers?

Red flags were raised last month when the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (also known as CMS) released numbers. It claimed more than 2,000 Michigan nursing home residents lost their lives to COVID-19.

The state had much lower numbers.

When questions were raised about the gap, we learned both had bad numbers. CMS found clerical errors. Plus the state said some nursing homes failed to report deaths to the state.

Now CMS reports as of June 21st 1,726 deaths of Michigan nursing home residents. The state reported as of the 5th of July 7,352 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,966 deaths of nursing home residents.

Representative Love has introduced a package of bills aimed to protect nursing home residents in a pandemic. Just one part of it calls for better data collection.

“So we can capture the virus. We know where the outbreaks are. If we aren’t even capturing data, how can we be effective at controlling the virus and its infection rate?” she asked.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home and want to look up data on their facility specifically at https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163_98173-526911--,00.html or at https://data.cms.gov/stories/s/bkwz-xpvg .

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.