Executive Order 2020-135 created a bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS
LANSING, MICHIGAN — Detroit nursing home worker Trece Andrews has been named to Governor Whitmer’s newly created COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force, representing frontline healthcare workers across Michigan who have been impacted during the pandemic. Andrews is a SEIU union steward at Regency at St. Claire Shores. She brings over 20 years of experience as a nursing home worker to the task force as Michigan prepares a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections in nursing homes.
“I’m excited and proud to be a voice who can speak with first-hand experience on conditions in nursing homes,” said Andrews. “A lot of attention has been paid to resident safety, but not enough to worker safety. I thank the Governor for the opportunity to be an advocate for my fellow workers.”
The Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force will be charged with, among other things, analyzing relevant data on the threat of COVID-19 in nursing homes, and making recommendations to the governor on improving data quality, and releasing periodic reports to the governor on its findings and recommendations. The task force must produce a recommendation to the governor for an action plan on how to prepare nursing homes for any future wave of COVID-19 cases by August 31, 2020.
Andrews’ addition to the task-force represents the first step toward fulfilling Michigan workers’ longstanding demand to bring workers to decision-making tables.
“I bring a perspective from the front-lines of the nursing homes that industry and government officials don’t necessarily have,” said Andrews. “Workers are responsible for executing any safety measures. If you don’t include them in the decision-making process, even the best safety measures will fall short. I will bring this perspective to the task-force.”
The Task Force will consist of leaders across state government, including representatives from DHHS and LARA. The task force will also include a representative of the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, bipartisan representation from both houses of the legislature (2 members from each house), and thirteen other members appointed by the governor, including individuals with a personal or professional interest in the health, safety, and welfare of nursing home residents and workers.
Last month, nursing home workers organizing with SEIU launched a national campaign calling on government and employers to take action to protect nursing home workers and residents. Their demands include health and safety standards such as weekly COVID-19 testing at no cost to workers, proper PPE and paid sick days, as well as unions for all nursing home workers.