Nessel said the investigation wasn’t needed “at this time” in response to a request by Republican state Sen. Jim Runestad for an inquiry, citing the senator’s lack of evidence to indicate “any law has been violated.”
“I appreciate that you and your colleagues have policy disagreements with Gov. Whitmer’s response to COVID-19,” Nessel wrote in a letter Monday. “But an investigation by my office is not the mechanism to resolve those disagreements.”
Republicans have condemned the Michigan governor for allowing nursing home residents recovering from the virus to return to their nursing homes or gain admittance, alleging the move put other residents at risk.
Whitmer created 21 hubs in existing nursing homes that were intended to have room for isolation and specialty equipment for elderly groups discharged from the hospital, reported The Detroit News.
But state Republicans wanted separate isolation units designated for elderly populations recovering from COVID-19, in order to prevent other nursing home residents from contracting the virus.
Former director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Robert Gordon, explained to lawmakers in September the complexities involved in setting up entirely different buildings fitted to handle sick patients, like adequate staffing and equipment, reported the Detroit publication.
Nessel also pushed back on state lawmaker’s critiques and said, “The suggestion that these public health policy decisions, by themselves, should be investigated because different approaches could have resulted in fewer deaths is inappropriate and violates well-established ethical guidelines for investigations by law enforcement agencies.”
Runestad said the state attorney general had “abdicated” her responsibilities in refusing to conduct an investigation.
“Families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 in nursing homes deserve to get answers,” he said in a statement following Nessel’s decision. “And just like the Whitmer administration, today the office of the Democratic attorney general let those families down.”