by Scott McClallen
For the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan started counting additional long-term care category deaths from SARS-CoV-2.
Long-term care deaths account for 35% of the state’s total COVID-19 death toll.
- Nursing homes: 2,218
- Homes for the aged: 290
- Adult foster care: 85
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) added new long-term care facility data fields and Adult Foster Care and Homes for the Aged information in a weekly report on Monday instead of a daily report.
The state said the change aimed to align with federal data collection efforts. Case numbers are provisional and may change as facilities correct or add data.
The cumulative data under the new reporting system includes cases from Jan. 1 through Oct. 28.
The state said it had been collecting the data since May 29 but didn’t publish it because of concerns about privacy and data validation.
MDHHS will be publishing additional data fields and expanding public reporting to include Adult Foster Care and Home for the Aged facilities with bed capacity of 13 or greater, about 900 additional facilities.
The state said these changes will be accompanied by increased validation efforts to ensure data accuracy.
“In an effort to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable Michiganders, we have been working closely with long-term care facilities across the state to provide more robust data in this weekly report,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said in a statement.
“Residents and family members should understand that the presence of COVID-19 at a facility is not alone an indicator that a facility isn’t following proper procedures. Families should always feel free to ask questions of the facility where their loved ones reside, and if not satisfied, contact their local ombudsman.”
This information was posted Monday and will be updated weekly going forward.
The novel coronavirus has disproportionately harmed older people.
The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity estimated that nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for 42 percent of the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths.
In Michigan, 87.6% of those killed by COVID-19 were 60 years of age or older.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.