Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference Thursday providing updates on the state’s response to COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know.
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LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference Thursday providing updates on the state’s response to COVID-19.
The governor said July 9 over the past week, there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.
Whitmer said as lives continue to be saved and the state works to avoid a second wave of coronavirus, she wanted to again thank those who have stepped up to manufacture and donate personal protective equipment.
Here’s the governor’s updates:
- Michigan has an opportunity to make the state a national leader in addressing health disparities.
As of July 5, Black Michiganders represented 14% of the state population, but 40% of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in which the race of the patient was known. COVID-19 is over four times more prevalent among Black Michiganders than among white Michiganders.
The National Healthcare Disparities Report concluded that white patients received care of a higher quality than Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and Asian Americans. People of color face more barriers to accessing health care than white people and are generally less satisfied with their interactions with health care providers.
Here are updates from Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health.
- As of Wednesday, Michigan reported 67,237 cases and 6,015 deaths. That’s 610 new cases which is the highest number of new cases reported since May. The state also reported an additional 10 deaths.
Cases have been increasing overall in the state for the past three weeks. Dr. Khaldun says some areas are seeing higher cases than others.
- Grand Rapids Region: three weeks of increasing rates of cases, now having 45 cases per million people, per day which is the highest of any region in the state.
- Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo Regions: over 20 cases per million people per day
- Traverse City, Jackson, UP Regions: under 20 cases per million people per day, but these regions have seen a steady increase in cases for the past two to three weeks
- The UP: had previously seen consistently low levels of cases is now seeing the highest rate of cases seen throughout the entire pandemic.
Testing is being increased across the state. Dr. Khaldun says over the past week, there’s been an average of over 18,000 tests done per day, which is 3,000 more tests conducted than the previous week.
- The percent of tests done that are coming back positive has also slowly increased from two to three percent.
June 30 Press Conference Updates
The governor led her press conference saying Michiganders cannot let their guard down and hopes they choose to celebrate the Fourth of July safely. As of June 30, Michigan is in Phase 4 of the governor’s six-phase plan which was announced on May 7 to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reopen Michigan’s economy.
Here are Gov. Whitmer’s June 30 updates:
- The Bipartisan Budget Agreement: this agreement proves that in times of crisis, we can come together and build a budget that reflects a bipartisan commitment to the things Michiganders value most.
- Michigan still needs support from the Federal Government
- Monday, June 29, Whitmer proposed several more police to reform policing in Michigan
- Tuesday morning, Whitmer signed an executive order to rename the state-owned Lewis Cass building in Downtown Lansing to the Elliott-Larsen Building honoring the legislators who sponsored Michigan’s Landmark Civil Rights Act.
- Over the last month, the Return To School Advisory Council and the COVID-19 Task Force on Education worked tirelessly to present recommendations for a safe and equitable return to in-person instruction.
- Tuesday, Whitmer signed an executive order requiring every school district to develop and adopt a plan based on various public health scenarios.
- Whitmer released MI Safe Schools Roadmap which includes guidance on PPE, hygiene and cleaning protocols, athletics and more.
- In recognition that these protocols will cost money, the Governor also announced that she was allocating $256 million to support the districts in implementing their local plans as part of the bipartisan budget agreement the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the governor announced Monday.
Michigan officials report 373 new coronaviruses (COVID-19) cases and an additional 32 deaths on June 30. This brings the state’s total to 63,870 cases and 5,947 deaths. As of June 26, there have been 51,099 recovered Covid-19 cases in the state.
June 17 Press Conference Updates
Michigan is currently in Phase 4 of her MI Safe Start Plan and the governor is optimistic that schools will be able to conduct in person meetings with safety measures in the fall.
One of the number one questions Whitmer has gotten when speaking to Michiganders about Covid-19 is whether or not children will return to school in the fall.
Here’s the Governor’s updates:
- The governor said as always, public health data will inform the state’s decision about opening and closing school buildings to students.
- Schools will be able to resume face-to-face instruction in phase four, if school implement strict health and safety protocols.
- Her administration plans to release an executive order and a robust document called Michigan’s Return To School Road Map on June 30. It will provide details on what will be required and recommended for Michigan schools. The requirements will apply to all schools: traditional, charter, public, private and parochial.
Over the past week, Michigan has emerged as a national leader in Covid-19 mitigation.
“This crisis is not over. Covid-19 is still very present in Michigan and if we drop our guard, we’ll end up on the map the way those other states are so we’ve got to stay disciplined. Let’s maintain this lead for the sake of our health and our economy as well,” said Whitmer.
- Michiganders must continue to do their part by social distancing and wearing masks.
- Whitmer is hopeful to move the state into Phase 5 of her MI Safe Start Plan before July 4.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says Michigan’s fight of Covid-19 is not over.
As of June 16, there are 60,189 total confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 5,790 coronavirus deaths. Khaldun said as of Friday, June 12, the number of people who have recovered from coronavirus in Michigan is 44,964.
June 1 Press Conference Updates
On Monday, Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order across the state.
Whitmer says the state is in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan.
- Groups of 100 or less can gather outdoors so long as they can maintain strict social distancing.
- Outdoor fitness classes are permitted as long as participants can remain six feet from one another.
- Office work that isn’t capable of being performed at home can resume, though you still have to work from home if at all possible.
- Housecleaning services and other in-home services can resume.
Thursday, June 4:
- retailers that have been closed can reopen with capacity limits.
Monday, June 8:
- Restaurants can reopen for indoor and outdoor seating, so long as tables can be kept six feet from one another.
- Day camps can resume their activities, subject to further guidelines on how to can keep kids safe
Whitmer has also called on the Federal Government to ensure flexibility and financial support for states like Michigan to recover from this pandemic.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced additional positive cases of coronavirus disease bringing the state total of COVID-19 cases to 57,532 and 5,516 deaths as of June 1 at 3 p.m.
May 29 Press Conference Updates
- On Friday, May 29 Whitmer signed an executive order creating the Michigan Workforce Development Board.
- The Governor said the state must engage the economy thoughtfully and deliberately to avoid a second wave
Last year, Governor Whitmer committed Michigan to reaching 60 percent postsecondary educational attainment by 2030. The new Workforce Development Board will be an essential part of this effort as they work to ensure Michiganders can acquire the skills and credentials they need to secure and advance in jobs with family-sustaining wages, as well as give Michigan’s job providers the access they need to skilled workers so they can continue to succeed in a global economy.
The Board will consist of the Governor or her designee, the director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity or his designee, and the following members appointed by the Governor:
Steve Claywell, of Battle Creek, is the president of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. Mr. Claywell is appointed to represent the workforce and general labor in Michigan for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2024.
Awenate Cobbina, of Detroit, is the vice president of business affairs for Palace Sports and Entertainment and the chair of the MEDC Executive Committee. Mr. Cobbina is appointed to represent businesses and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Board for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2024.
Robert Davies, Ph.D., of Mount Pleasant, is the president of Central Michigan University. Dr. Davies is appointed to represent a president of an institution of higher education described in or established pursuant to section 5 or 6 of article 8 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2023.
Mike Duggan, of Detroit, is the mayor of the City of Detroit. Mayor Duggan is appointed to represent a chief elected official of a city or county in this state for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2023.
Jennifer A. Geno, of Bay City, is the executive director of career and technical education for the Saginaw Intermediate School District. Ms. Geno is appointed to represent a director of a Michigan high school career and technical education program for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2024.
Lee Graham, of Holly, is the executive director of Operating Engineers 324’s Labor Management Education Committee. Mr. Graham is appointed to represent an apprenticeship coordinator of a joint labor-management apprenticeship program for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2022.
Peter T. Hungerford, of Grand Rapids, is the chief operating officer of ADAC Automotive. Mr. Hungerford is appointed to represent manufacturing business enterprises for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2021.
Russ Kavalhuna, of Dearborn, is the president of Henry Ford College. Mr. Kavalhuna is appointed to represent a president of a community college district organized under the Community College Act of 1966, for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2024.
Leigh A. Kegerreis, of Monroe, is an administrative assistant to the president of the UAW. Ms. Kegerreis is appointed to represent the workforce and general labor in Michigan for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2023.
Birgit M. Klohs, of Grand Rapids, is president and CEO of The Right Place, Inc. Ms. Klohs is appointed to represent businesses for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2022.
Rachel E. Lutz, of Detroit, is the owner of the Peacock Room Boutique, Yama, and Frida clothing stores. Ms. Lutz is appointed to represent small business owners for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2023.
Dave Meador, of Bloomfield Hills, is vice chairman and chief administrative officer of DTE Energy. Mr. Meador is appointed to represent business enterprises employing veterans, returning citizens, or persons with disabilities, for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2022.
Cindy Pasky, of Detroit, is the president and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions. Ms. Pasky is appointed to represent female-owned business enterprises for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2023. The Governor has designated Ms. Pasky to serve as Chairperson of the Board.
Patti Poppe, of Grass Lake, is the president and CEO of CMS Energy and Consumers Energy. Mrs. Poppe is appointed to represent businesses for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2022.
Tony Retaskie, of Marquette, is the executive director of the Upper Peninsula Construction Council. Mr. Retaskie is appointed to represent the workforce and general labor in Michigan for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2024.
Jessica L. Robinson, of Detroit, is the co-founder of the Detroit Mobility Lab and Michigan Mobility Institute and the co-founder and partner of Assembly Ventures. Ms. Robinson is appointed to represent mobility business enterprises for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2022.
Ari Weinzweig, of Ann Arbor, is the co-founder and CEO of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Mr. Weinzweig is appointed to represent businesses for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2021.
Matthew J. Wesaw, of Lansing, is the tribal council chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the chairman and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority Board. Mr. Wesaw is appointed to represent businesses for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2021.
George Wilkinson, of Grand Blanc, is the president of NorthGate and a pastor at Word of Life Christian Church. Pastor Wilkinson is appointed to represent minority-owned business enterprises for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2021.
Martha Zehnder Kaczynski, of Frankenmuth, is the vice president of the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Corp., Bavarian Inn Lodge, and the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus. Mrs. Kaczynski appointed to represent businesses for a term commencing May 29, 2020 and expiring May 29, 2021.
- Whitmer says as the state has begun to phase in sectors of the economy and her number one priority has been doing so in a way that protects workers, customers and their families.
- Work share gives flexibility to employers and allows workers to keep their jobs and collect unemployment insurance.
- On Wednesday, the MEDC announced that the Pure Michigan Business Connect Program has developed a portal to support the PPE needs of Michigan businesses as they start the process of re-opening.
- As of Friday, more than 900 Michigan companies with procurement needs registered through the portal, along with nearly 1,800 suppliers.
- To reopen sectors of the state’s economy the right way Whitmer said everyone must work together. Whitmer also says she will keep putting the workers’ health and safety first.
May 28 Press Conference Updates
Whitmer says Michigan’s coronavirus cases are declining and the state has ramped up testing and secured PPE to last several weeks for hospitals. The governor is also counting on support from the federal government saying she hopes President Donald Trump and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell step up and help the state with its budget.
Over the last 10 weeks here’s how the state has taken actions to protect Michiganders:
- Hospitals: $25M
- Direct Care Workers: $22.1M
- Nursing Homes: $3.4M
- Federally Qualified Health Centers: $5M
- Community Mental Health Grants: $5M
- PPE (Hospital Gowns, Ventilators, Sanitizer, N95 Masks, Hospital Beds): $251M
- Support for working families
- Child care: $181M
- Unemployment $8.5B paid to Michigan workers
- Work share
- Small Business Grants
- $1M to small businesses that retooled
- $10M to small businesses relief grants
- $3.3M to bars and restaurants
Whitmer says state re-engaged sectors of the economy such as construction, manufacturing retail and more.
Whitmer and senior members of her staff took pay cuts as the state tightened its budget during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Whitmer pay cut: 10 percent
- Executive team pay cut: 5 percent
- Cabinet pay cut: 5 percent
- Two rounds of state employee layoffs: $80M gross savings
Michigan budget priorities:
- Prioritize funding for school classrooms and literacy
- Protect police, fire and local communities
- Worker protections:
- Hazard pay for first responders
- Extend unemployment benefits
- COVID-19 office of worker safety
- Fund vaccine research at Michigan research universities
- Rebuilding Michigan bonding program to start fixing state roads right now and keep drivers safe
- Paid sick and family leave
Policy Priorities To Help Michigan Families:
- Access to health care
- High quality childcare
- Worker retraining: future for frontliners
- Return to school plan
- Supporting small businesses
- Enhanced consumer protections
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced additional positive cases of coronavirus disease bringing the state total of COVID-19 cases to 56,014 and 5,372 deaths as of May 28 at 3 p.m. The deaths announced on May 28 includes 17 deaths identified during a Vital Records review.
May 26 Press Conference Updates
On Tuesday, Whitmer signed an executive order expanding the types of medical personnel that can order a coronavirus test.
Michiganders eligible for testing include someone who:
- Exhibits any symptom of COVID-19, including mild symptoms
- Has been exposed to a person with COVID-19
- Has been working outside their home for at least 10 days
- Resides in any congregate setting, such as a long-term care facility, prison or jail, homeless shelter, or migrant camp
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced additional positive cases of coronavirus disease bringing the state total of COVID-19 cases to 55,104 and 5,266 deaths as of Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST.
The governor also announced a new, online dashboard that visually illustrates COVID-19 risks and trends in Michigan, providing residents with important information about the pandemic status where they live and work. Michiganders can find the dashboard at MIstartmap.info.
The governor was joined by MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Dr. Emily Martin, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Beverly Allen, Chief Executive Officer of Aetna Better Health of Michigan, a subsidiary of CVS Health.
May 21 Press Conference Updates
On Thursday, Whitmer signed a number of executive orders that will phase more sectors of Michigan’s economy.
Thursday’s updates include:
- Lifting the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures. This goes into effect statewide on Friday, May 29.
- Statewide reopening of auto showrooms by appointment only. This goes into effect. This goes into effect Tuesday, May 26.
- Allowing statewide retail, by appointment only. Stores are limited to 10 customers at any one time. This goes into effect Tuesday, May 26.
- Allowing statewide gathering of 10 people or less immediately, as long as people are practicing social distancing. This goes into effect immediately.
Businesses that reopen MUST adhere to strict safety measures to protect employees, customers, clients and patients.
May 18 Press Conference Updates
Whitmer signed an executive order to further protect Michigan workers as the state begins to re-engage sectors of the economy.
- This executive order requires all businesses to adhere to strict safety guidelines to protect their workers, their patrons, and their communities from infection. To foster compliance, the governor also signed an executive directive to appoint a Director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
- Under the executive order 2020-91, businesses that resume in-person work must, among other things, develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and make it available to employees and customers by June 1.
- Businesses must also provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.
Whitmer also announced the reopening in two regions of retail business, office work that cannot be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating. The two regions are both in the northern part of the state—specifically, MERC regions 6 and 8, as detailed in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy.
- The partial reopening will take effect on Friday, May 22. Cities, villages, and townships may choose to take a more cautious course if they wish: the order does not abridge their authority to restrict the operations of restaurants or bars, including limiting such establishments to outdoor seating.
- Region 6 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Emmet.
- Region 8 in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan includes the following counties: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Iron, Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Mackinac, and Chippewa.
May 15 Press Conference Updates
- On Thursday Whitmer and Plaintiffs in the Gary B. Literacy case initially filed against Governor Rick Snyder, signed a settlement agreement
- Whitmer says she remains committed to ensuring paths to literacy for children across Michigan. She says this was a landmark ruling and she is proud to fight to defend it.
- On Friday Whitmer announced a process for how the state can begin planning for when and how students and staff may begin safely returning back to school buildings
- Whitmer signed an Executive Order to establish a return to learn advisory council.
- The panel – which will be comprised of students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials – will be tasked with providing the COVID-19 Task Force on Education within the State Emergency Operations Center with recommendations on how to safely, equitably, and efficiently return to school in the fall.
- It will also align with the MI Safe Start Plan
- Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced May 7 her six phase plan to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reopen Michigan’s economy. The governor has worked with leaders in health care, business, labor, and education to develop the plan and says Michigan is in phase three.
- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced additional positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This brings the state total of COVID-19 cases to 50,079 and 4,825 deaths as of Friday at 3 p.m. EST.
May 13 Press Conference Updates
Whitmer opened the conference taking a few moments to remember former Sen. Morris Hood who died at 54 from COVID-19.
Whitmer also mentioned that 10,000 protective gowns were donated to the city’s first responders in honor of Skylar Herbert, the first child to die in the state from COVID-19.
Here’s Whitmer’s updates:
- Wednesday morning her administration announced the state of Michigan will participate in the Federal Unemployment Insurance Agency Work Share program to help offset budget implications as a result of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Michigan is currently in the 3rd of 6 phases of the MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage the state’s economy.
Whitmer was also joined by business leaders from across the sate who are committed to ensuring the safety of their employees and customers.
As of Wednesday there were 48,391 cases of coronavirus in Michigan and 4,714 deaths. 22,686 people have recovered in Michigan from the coronavirus as of May 8.
May 11 Press Conference Updates
Whitmer said Tuesday will mark nine weeks since the coronavirus first appeared in the state.
- As of Monday, May 11 COVID-19 is present in 79 of Michigan’s 83 counties.
- The state has provided more than 1.1 million unemployed Michigan workers more than $4 billion in benefits.
- Businesses cannot punish a worker who must stay home because they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms or have come in contact with someone who has.
- The Department of Corrections has taken a number of measures to protect people serving time, expanding testing protocols and expedite paroles.
- Whitmer’s administration will continue to monitor the data and reports from Michigan’s state parks.
- Until there is a vaccine, social distancing is the only real tool to prevent spreading of coronavirus.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced additional positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This brings the state total of COVID-19 cases to 47,552 and 4,584 deaths as of Monday at 3 p.m. and 22,686 people have recovered in Michigan from the coronavirus as of May 8.
May 7 Press Conference Updates
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order Thursday to extend Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. Under this order, Michiganders still must not leave their homes except to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities, or to go to specified jobs.
The governor’s order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11 as part of her MI Safe Start Plan.
After announcing that Michigan’s manufacturing workers will return to work on Monday, May 11, Whitmer detailed the six phases of her MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy.
The phases of the pandemic include:
- UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.
- PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.
- FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.
- IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining.
- CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained.
- POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return.
Whitmer announced Michigan is in Phase Three as of May 7.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced additional positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This brings the state total of COVID-19 cases to 45,646 and 4,343 deaths as of Thursday at 3 p.m. EST.
- Pfizer announced the first participants have been dosed in the U.S. in a clinical trial for the BNT162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19 infection.
- More than 2,700 businesses around Michigan were awarded a total of $10 million in Michigan Small Business Relief Program.
- DHHS announced that close to 90,000 low-income college students in Michigan who are enrolled in career or technical education programs are eligible to receive food assistance benefits effective this week.