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More in-person nursing home visits now allowed

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is once again allowing in-person visits at nursing homes across much of the state.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says cases across the state are increasing at an alarming rate. But her Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon says the order only allows visits at facilities in counties deemed “low risk.” The home must also have no new COVID-19 cases reported within the past 2 weeks .

“We are hopeful that we will see that indoor visiting can be done safely, and that we can expand the scope and include counties that have a high rate of spread, but we really do take this one week at a time.”

Gordon says the onset of winter will soon make outdoor visits impractical. At the same time, he says, patients need human connections with loved ones. The plan includes considerations for physical contact, including when a patient is near death. 

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.