Whitmer issues two more orders on food sales, nursing home infection protocols 

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

    Shoppers with a higher risk of catching COVID-19 must continue to be provided with reserved hours at grocery stores and pharmacies and long-term care facilities must continue to maintain COVID-19 infection protocols put in place at the start of the pandemic, according to two more executive orders signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

    Vulnerable individuals can keep two hours a week of reserved shopping time at grocery stores and pharmacies, according to EO 2020-168. The order lasts through Sept. 7. 

    It also extends requirements for food-selling establishments and pharmacies to provide employees vulnerable to COVID-19 with accommodations, like a leave of absence or a different role. They also must continue to notify employees if a worker tests positive for COVID-19, but not disclose that worker’s private health information.

    “Our fight is not over yet, and that is why I am extending these protections to ensure employees, residents and customers are able to work and live in a safe environment,” Whitmer said in a news release.

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    The second order continues temporary restrictions on health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities and juvenile justice facilities. EO 2020-169 maintains several infection control protocols Whitmer put in place at these facilities back in April, such as requiring them to cancel communal dining, inform employees and local health departments of COVID-19-affected residents and transfer residents who test positive for COVID-19 to dedicated virus units or regional hubs, to name a few.

    In June, Whitmer created a task force within the state Department of Health and Human Services to address infections in these facilities. About 2,022 long-term care facility residents and 21 staff members across the state have died from COVID-19, according to Michigan’s coronavirus dashboard. Those resident deaths account for nearly one-third of the state’s fatalities.

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    That order also stays in effect through Sept. 7.

     

    C.J. Moore
    C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She is a journalism graduate student at Michigan State University.