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Whitmer: Health workers must get ‘implicit bias’ training

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will hold a briefing this morning on the state’s response to coronavirus.
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by: DAVID EGGERT Associated Press, WOODTV.com staff

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provides an update on coronavirus in Michigan on June 1, 2020, as Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, looks on. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — All health workers in Michigan will be required to receive “implicit bias” training under a directive issued Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who said the mandate is intended to address the coronavirus pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color.

The order requires the state licensing department to write rules requiring the training as part of the licensing and registration of health professionals.

The governor said evidence shows such training can “make a positive difference.” Black residents represent 14% of Michigan’s population but account for 40% of COVID-19-related deaths.

The state on Wednesday announced that more than 600 new cases of the virus had been confirmed in Michigan and that there were 10 additional deaths. The percentage of positive tests was higher than it had been since late May, though things are still much better than they were when the outbreak was at its peak in April. Updated data from the state will be released this afternoon.

“We really do need to get back on track and in the right direction again,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive Thursday.

The Grand Rapids region now has the highest rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 than any other region in the state. For the last three weeks, the region has seen an increase in the rate of cases, according to Khaldun.

She added that the Upper Peninsula is seeing the highest rates of cases yet during the pandemic.

Health officials continue to remind everyone to practice 6-foot social distancing, wash their hands frequently and wear a mask whenever they are in public. If you want to get tested for the virus, you can go to the state’s website to find a site.

Whitmer has repeatedly said that she would loosen restrictions as the numbers showed a decline in the virus’ spread and strengthen them if things got worse. She reiterated that stance on June 30 as she and other state officials noted an uptick in cases. The next day, she ordered bars in much of the state to stop indoor service.

  

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