Given the massive rise in case numbers, positivity rates, and hospitalizations, at a press conference today Governor Gretchen Whitmer called on Michigan residents to take steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Experts are tying the rising cases to a lack of compliance by residents and an increase in variants. She also stated Michigan is in a tough position as opposed to other states because fewer residents had COVID-19 due to the restrictions the state had in place over the last year.
Governor Whitmer is calling on residents to avoid indoor dining and indoor gatherings for two-weeks. Additionally, she’s calling on high schools to utilize virtual learning for two-weeks following spring break and for all youth sports to halt practices and games for two-weeks. The governor stressed the need for residents to continue to wear masks, following social distancing guidelines, to stay home when sick, and to get vaccinated. At this time all of these are simply recommendations, however, she did not rule out taking further action if necessary.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun painted a bleak picture of the situation in Michigan, stating she is quite concerned. The state’s positivity rate of 18% is the highest it’s been since the surge in spring 2020. Additionally, both the positivity rate and cases per million are four times higher than in mid-February 2021. Lastly, hospitals are beginning to implement surge plans as 15.2% of hospital beds are being used by COVID-19 patients. She stated the public health system is overwhelmed and they can’t keep up with the pace of news cases. This is causing impediments in important tasks such as contact tracing.
To help with the surge, Governor Whitmer is calling on the Biden administration to create a national surge strategy and send additional vaccines to states like Michigan that are seeing sharp rises in their key metrics. In a phone call with President Biden last night, the governor made the case for the strategy and urged its adoption.
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