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MDHHS says the death count for those lost to COVID-19 in long term care facilities is wrong

MDHHS Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.png
Posted at 7:51 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 07:40:47-05

MICHIGAN — Two Michigan agencies can’t agree on how many people in long-term care facilities died of COVID-19. The Auditor General’s Office says they have found more than a thousand additional deaths. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says their count is wrong.

A report from the State’s Auditor General’s Office says 8,061 living in long-term care facilities died of COVID-19.

Of those deaths, 7,010 were required to be reported by long-term care facilities.

However, only 5,675 of those were self-reported per state guidelines.

The Auditor General’s Office says they found additional COVID deaths in their review.

A review, the MDHHS says is inaccurate: saying they do not trust the numbers from their own department: the Michigan Disease Surveillance System.

The bottom line is it has got the guy who busted the whole thing wide open, angry.

“We found thousands of elderly people who died in silence. With the promise we were doing everything we could to look out for them,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie Leduff.

Saying not only will the state not take ownership over what happened they made it nearly impossible to confirm.

Leduff with attorney Steve Delie sued the State Department of Health and Human Services for the records. They say they found what they feared.

“Our true rate is 37% of these deaths can be traced back to long-term care facilities. The state was reporting a much lower rate, I believe it was somewhere in the 20s before the report came out,” Deli explained.

Whitmer’s office denies these new numbers are accurately releasing a statement before the report from the auditor general came out. they say the Auditor General’s got the count wrong.

Leduff says Michiganders deserve to know the accurate number.

“I don’t want to talk about politics. I’m sick of politics. Partisan, independent, it was human beings. Right, trump republicans used to be blue-collar democrats. We’re sick of it. Do your job,”Leduff said.

It is doing the right thing: making sure in the count, no one is left out.

The attorney in this case who helped sue the state says this is far to common of an occurrence and once they have more data, they believe it will show policies put more elderly people in harms way. MDHSS is conducting a review, and their report is not yet available.