By Kory Goldsmith
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, joined by Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon announced MDHHS is extending the three-week epidemic order that was previously put in place on Nov. 18. The new order will last until Dec. 20.
“The progress isn’t far enough to begin restarting, but it is enough to write a shorter renewal,” said Gordon.
Movie theatres, arcades, in-door dining and bars, bowling centers, casinos, non-professional organized sports, ice rinks, in-door water parks remain closed. High school and college/university classes must be done remotely. K-8 classes are still able to meet in-person following social distancing and mask mandates.
This announcement comes on a day in which there were 9,350 new reported cases since Saturday with a positivity rate of 12.55% rate in Michigan. Kent County has 819 of new cases, with a positivity rate of 14.7%. The number of new cases and positivity rate has declined over the past three weeks and Whitmer, Gordon, and Khaldun are hoping to see this trend continue.
Although daily case numbers are dropping, 93 deaths were reported. Eleven of them were in Kent County alone. According to Khaldun, this is seven times higher than in early October.
“Each life lost is precious and irreplaceable,” Gordon said. “With the steps we’re taking today and with the actions that all of us take, we can give thousands more Michiganders a chance to enjoy the next holiday season.”
These numbers don’t include positive cases due to Thanksgiving travel. Those statistics will be reflected later this week.
Whitmer is asking people in Michigan to rally and help people get through this, reminding people that the way we’re living right now, won’t last forever. She emphasized that things are serious right now. As well as encouraging people, much like the previous Thanksgiving holiday, not to travel or have large gatherings this Christmas.
“This is real progress we’re on the cusp of,” Whitmer said when asked about vaccines during the Q&A. “We can’t stop fighting in the next couple of months.”
Khaldun shared her experience working a shift in the critical care unit in the ER this past weekend. She shared about how people are coming in weeks after being diagnosed with complications from COVID. She’s asking people to take COVID seriously and do what we can to prevent spread.
“Progress against COVID is hard to earn and easy to lose,” Gordon said. “We need to open cautiously, not recklessly.”