By Kory Goldsmith
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference on Thursday encouraging Michiganders to shop at local businesses and give an update on the state’s surging COVID-19 cases.
Whitmer highlighted the importance of supporting local small businesses throughout the Christmas season.
If Michiganders purchase one out of 10 purchases through local businesses this holiday season instead of out-of-state purchasing, Whitmer said Michigan would receive $1.2 billion in increased economic activity. She said she also supports residents ordering take-out/delivery or buying a gift card to use at a later date or give as a gift.
“Just 10 percent of your out-of-state purchasing staying here at home,” Whitmer said., adding that shopping local “has a massive impact on these businesses, these families, and right here at home. So this season, let’s shop local, let’s dine local, get that take-out, and stay local and support small businesses and workers that are the heartbeat of our communities.”
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun reported 934 cases per million and a 16% positivity rate in the Grand Rapids region. She encourages people to have small Thanksgiving gatherings. Khaldun suggests dropping food off on your loved one’s porch to enjoy your cooking or set up virtual gatherings.
Due to the high rates in Michigan, Khaldun said she believes it’s most likely COVID-19 will be around the table at a large gathering.
“Bad decisions made at Thanksgiving will mean people will be mourning the deaths of their loved one’s by New Year’s,” Khaldun said. “I would rather make smart decisions now and look forward to next year when we can celebrate them again together, alive.”
Michigan has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases in hospitals in the country. Hospitals are 79% full of patients battling the virus.
Khaldun said she is also concerned about a shortage of donated blood. To donate blood, contact local hospitals or the American Red Cross to find where you can donate and help those who need a life saving transfusion.
This is on a day which Michigan saw 7,592 new cases and 134 reported deaths which include deaths that weren’t initially reported as COVID-19 related deaths. Meanwhile, another 739 new cases and nine deaths were reported in Kent County, which has now surpassed 25,000 cases.
Whitmer urged the public to be responsible and do their part to stop the spread of the virus and allow the state to ease restrictions. She reminded everyone that we flattened the curve in the spring and believes that it can happen again.
“You have the power to help us to push this curve down,” Whitmer said. “Everyone of us has the power to make choices that will contribute to that. It’s going to take all of us working together.”