GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly 2,200 nursing home patients in Michigan are battling COVID-19, according to new data released by the state.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launched the online database Friday, listing the nursing homes with COVID-19 patients.
Bob Wheaton, spokesperson for MDHHS, said 2,198 Michigan nursing home residents are reported as currently having COVID-19.
“I think it’s accurate that at least 6% of the cases so far have been in nursing homes,” Wheaton said.
On Saturday, Michigan reported 37,203 cases statewide. There have been 3,274 deaths linked to the virus, and more than 8,000 people are considered to be recovered in the state.
LIST ONLY INCLUDES CURRENT CASES
However, the totals reported may seem incomplete as they don’t include the number of nursing home residents who have already recovered or died from COVID-19.
When asked why the state doesn’t include data on previous COVID-19 cases in nursing facilities, Wheaton said it’s because their data collection efforts are focused on the current situation.
“We’re using this to guide our response and interventions,” Wheaton said.
The decision to publicly release this data comes partially in response to a growing number of questions and concerns surrounding outbreaks at nursing homes.
“This past week, we began collecting that information from the nursing homes in the interest of transparency and to let people know what’s going on,” Wheaton said.
ONE IN THREE NURSING HOMES AFFECTED BY COVID-19
Out of the approximately 500 Michigan nursing home facilities listed, 144 of them are reported as having COVID-19. That means, on average, one in three nursing homes are currently affected by the virus.
In Kent County, four out of the 33 long term care facilities have COVID-19 cases, a total of 35 infected residents.
DATA IS INCOMPLETE
Wheaton wants to caution people that the numbers reported are not a complete total as they’re still waiting to collect data from nearly 80 nursing home facilities across the state.
“The number that we have, which is close to 2,200 (patients affected), is likely going to be more than that once we get reports from other nursing homes, which we hope to get very soon,” Wheaton said.
Wheaton said MDHHS plans to begin gathering information from other long-term care facilities, like assisted living facilities, with the hopes of releasing that data sometime next week.
In the meantime, the state will continue to update the current data five times per week.