Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) could be the subject of an investigation regarding her handling of nursing home patients who contracted COVID-19.
“Gov. Whitmer’s regional hub policy placed patients with and without COVID-19 in the same facilities and may have exacerbated the death toll in those facilities,” said state Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) in a press release. “Questions remain regarding the accuracy of data, compliance with CDC guidelines and compliance with our state’s Freedom of Information Act. There is a critical need for a full investigation into these matters.”
Runestad demanded an investigation from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel(D), a strong Whitmer ally, and the U.S. Department of Justice in two letters Wednesday, one sent to each office.
He noted that nursing home deaths have “soared” in the state.
More than 15,000 Michiganders have died from COVID-19, and more than 5,000 of those deaths have been nursing home patients, according to Patch.
“While the governor’s administration has been questioned repeatedly about unintended consequences of her policies and discrepancies in the reported numbers of cases and deaths in the state’s long-term care facilities, it has now come to Runestad’s attention that these reporting errors have not been resolved,” the press release said.
He accused Whitmer of implementing a similar policy to that of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
“Michiganders understand there are many, many similarities between Gov. Whitmer’s handling of the virus and Gov. Cuomo’s: their unilateral overreach (both struck down by the courts), their allusion to vague metrics and data, their questionable vaccine distribution plans, and their outright defiance to losing their emergency powers,” Runestad said. “The alarming similarities with New York raise serious questions about what really happened in Michigan.”
A U.S. Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are investigating Cuomo’s handling of nursing home patients, and whether he intentionally covered up New York’s COVID-19 death toll.
Whitmer’s office could not be reached for comment, but Wednesday, her administration dismissed the calls for an investigation in an email to Patch, dismissing them as partisan attacks.
“The senators’ allegations are shameful political attacks based in neither fact nor reality,” her office reportedly said. “Our top priority from the start has been protecting Michiganders, especially seniors and our most vulnerable.”
Whitmer’s extreme lockdown measures have drawn the ire of political foes nationwide.
For a brief period, she banned residents from gathering in their private residences, a blatantly unconstitutional move that was struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Most recently, she was sued by high school athletes and a nonprofit working on their behalf over a ban on contact sports. She lifted the ban a day after the lawsuit was filed.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.