LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan should modify a system in which nursing home residents infected with the coronavirus can be treated and isolated in those facilities and take steps to improve life for all long-term care residents amid the pandemic, a task force urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a report released Tuesday.
The 20-member group was created by the governor to prepare for a potential second surge of COVID-19 after deaths and cases spiked in the spring. Nursing home residents account for 2,088, or 31%, of the state’s 6,767 confirmed or probable deaths related to the virus.
Of the 28 recommendations, nearly half involve ways to better the quality of life inside homes that have been forced to stop communal dining and restrict visits during the outbreak. To reduce the effects of isolation, the panel urged allowing outdoor and window visits, limited communal dining and optional “pod”-like arrangements in which residents could spend time together in small groups.
Other recommendations include prioritizing nursing homes for personal protective equipment and testing supplies, lessening data-reporting requirements and designating labs that give priority to specimens from the homes.