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State health director stands by nursing home COVID data, but other numbers 'could be low'


The state’s top health official says she stands by Michigan’s COVID-19 fatality numbers for the state’s nursing homes. But she concedes other numbers for long-term care facilities “could be low.”

About 30% of all COVID deaths in Michigan during the pandemic are connected to nursing homesand other long-term care facilities.

State Health and Human Services department director Elizabeth Hertel appeared before a legislative committee Thursday. She said COVID-19 numbers tied to nursing homes are accurate. But the data do not include many small adult-foster care facilities. Hertel said her agency needs more data from those facilities.

“I need additional personal identifying information,” Hertel told the committee, “So I can run a match that validates that information.”

Michigan lawmakers say they want more information about COVID-19 related deaths tied to the state’s long-term care facilities.

House Oversight Committee chairman Steve Johnson wants the state auditor's office to examine the data.  

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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