SEIU LEADERS CALL ON GOVERNOR, ELECTED OFFICIALS TO APPLY TESTING STATEWIDE
DETROIT, Mich. – SEIU leaders are celebrating actions taken by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to provide 15-minute testing for COVID-19 in every nursing home in the city of Detroit.
On Saturday, SEIU Healthcare Michigan President Andrea Acevedo sent a letter detailing the abysmal conditions at Villa Ambassador Nursing Home in Detroit. Within a few days of receiving the letter, Mayor Duggan announced a new policy to deploy 15-minute tests at every nursing home in the city of Detroit. Union leaders are championing this action as a victory for health care workers in the region.
“We commend Mayor Duggan and the City of Detroit listening to the needs of nursing home workers and taking action quickly,” said Acevedo, “This is a huge victory for racial justice in our community. Over 90% of nursing home workers in our metro Detroit homes are black women, and their lives are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”
According to state health officials, around 5,683 of the state’s 17,221 confirmed COVID-19 cases, or 33 percent, have been African American, a number 10 percent higher than Caucasians.
SEIU leaders have been sounding the alarm on nursing homes in Metro Detroit over the past few weeks, citing a lack of PPE, testing, and transparency from nursing home owners. On March 16th, SEIU mailed a Memorandum of Understanding to all of its 66 metro Detroit nursing homes detailing measures to protect workers from COVID-19. Access to free testing and health care for COVID-19 was one of the core asks for nursing homes.
With the City of Detroit taking action, SEIU leaders are demanding that the Governor take steps to apply testing to all of Michigan’s nursing homes.
“The next step is to apply testing measures like this statewide,” said Acevedo, “We are asking the Governor and elected officials to press state and county health departments to begin taking this seriously.”
SEIU has been polling workers at its 66 metro Detroit nursing homes over the past week. Though results of the survey have not been finalized, to this date over 50% of workers have reported a confirmed case COVID-19 in their home. In addition, 20% of workers reported a suspected case of COVID-19. Full results of the survey will be available by the end of the week.