Whitmer modifies telehealth options, extends protections for migrant agricultural workers

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer modifies telehealth options and extends protections for migrant agricultural workers. (WWMT/File)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive orders Monday, June 29, 2020.

Executive Order 2020-138 increased access to healthcare through telehealth options amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while Executive Order 2020-137 protected migrant agricultural workers living in congregate housing from the risk of outbreaks.

Executive Order 2020-138 removes provisions no longer needed after Whitmer signed House Bills 5412, 5413, 5414, 5415 and 5416.

“Last week, I was proud to sign the bipartisan bill package that will increase telehealth access. I am prepared to continue to work with the Legislature on appropriate legislation to suppress the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the effects of this global pandemic on the people of Michigan,” Whitmer said. “But COVID-19 is still present in Michigan, and it remains necessary to continue to promote the use of telehealth services to limit exposure and protect against the virus.”

Executive Order 2020-137 required owners and operators of employer-provided migrant housing licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide residents with the same safeguards businesses are required to provide workers, including:

  • Separate beds by at least 6 feet or more in all directions wherever possible and encourage residents to sleep head-to-toe, except in single-family housing.
  • Provide isolation housing for those infected by COVID-19 who have not received a positive result from a COVID-19 test, unless the resident resides in a single-family housing unit or family living unit that is part of a multifamily unit and can effectively isolate themselves.
  • Provide housing, dining and bathroom facilities for COVID-19-confirmed residents separate from residents who are not COVID-19-confirmed.
  • Ensure regular ventilation of rooms where COVID-19-affected residents are housed.
  • Ensure anyone who delivers food and water to isolated residents is equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Arrange for COVID-19-affected residents to be evaluated by a medical provider through the local health department or federally qualified health center.
  • Adopt any additional infection control measures consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Housing owners and operators must continue to allow aid organizations and state regulators to access migrant housing to ensure that residents receive appropriate social services and protections.

“Michigan’s migrant agricultural workers are a critical part of our workforce and state as a whole,” Whitmer said. “By extending this executive order we can protect migrant agricultural workers from outbreaks, and protect Michiganders continue to have access to healthy and nutritious food grown right here in our state.”