(WXYZ) — A new report from Michigan's Auditor General is expected to be released Monday on the total number of COVID-19 deaths linked to long-term care facilities like nursing homes.
State health officials are refuting the initial findings saying nearly 2,400 more people died from the virus in long-term care facilities over the last 18 months.
"We had some skepticism about the numbers we received from the administration," State Representative Steven Johnson said.
At his request, Michigan Auditor General Doug Rigler began compiling data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state's long-term care facilities.
"They have shown that it's actually 30% higher than what the Whitmer administration told us before," Johnson said.
That 30% translates to about 5,675 additional COVID deaths over an 18 month period.
Johnson says the mass casualties are a result of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's disastrous policies that put infected patients into nursing homes.
In a press conference via zoom, Michigan health officials said any discrepancies are due to a difference in what the auditor general is reporting as a long-term care facility.
"It's actually shameful what they are trying to do," Johnson said. "They are trying to deflect away from this. They are trying to confuse the people of Michigan instead of just taking accountability for their actions."
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services does not recognize assisted living facilities as long-term care because they are not regulated or licensed by the state. Only nursing homes, adult foster cares, and homes for the aged are within their purview.
"There are certain nursing homes that are required to self-report and certain ones that are not. The department did not go and seek the numbers from those who were not required to self-report, so when they presented to us the number of death they were conveniently leaving out a large block of facilities," Johnson said.