After every region in Michigan saw an uptick in new COVID-19 cases over the past three weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today took swift action by signing a new executive order to save lives. Executive Order 2020-151 extends the governor’s emergency and disaster declaration until 11:59 p.m. Aug. 11, 2020.
“COVID-19 has now killed more than 6,000 people in Michigan. That’s more than 6,000 of our parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. And the rising numbers we’ve seen over the past few weeks prove that this virus is still a very real threat in our state,” said Whitmer. “Today, I signed new emergency and disaster declarations using independent sources of statutory authority to continue saving lives and ensure that the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis have the tools they need.”
“Throughout this crisis, the vast majority of Michiganders have done their part, but we must remain vigilant and continue to do everything we can to protect our loved ones,” said Whitmer. “That means wearing a mask over your mouth and nose and practicing safe physical distancing when going out in public. If we all do our part now, there is a greater chance that schools can resume in-person learning in the fall. Be smart, be safe, and mask up.”
Daily COVID-19 case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo regions. Positivity rates are creeping upward. The increase in cases reflects a national trend: COVID-19 cases are growing in 39 states and in some are surging uncontrollably. Two days ago, for example, Florida recorded 15,300 new cases in a single day, the highest one-day total for any state so far during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 still poses a threat to families across Michigan, and it’s crucial that Governor Whitmer continue to take swift action to save lives,” said Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “Michiganders should all continue to do their part by wearing a mask and practicing safe physical distancing. We will get through this when we work together.”
The severe economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mount. During this crisis, Michigan has often processed more unemployment claims in a single day than in the most painful week of the Great Recession, and the state already saw its highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. The Michigan Department of Treasury predicts that this year the state will lose between $1 and $3 billion in revenue. At the same time, continued federal support is by no means assured. Unless it is renewed, for example, Congress’s emergency infusion of money into the unemployment system will cease at the end of this month. Without that money, many families in Michigan will struggle to pay their bills or even put food on the table.
The health, economic, and social harms of the COVID-19 pandemic remain widespread and severe, and they continue to constitute a statewide emergency and disaster. Though local health departments have some limited capacity to respond to cases as they arise within their jurisdictions, state emergency operations are necessary to bring this pandemic under control in Michigan and to build and maintain infrastructure to stop the spread of COVID-19, trace infections, and quickly direct additional resources to hot-spots as they emerge.
To view Executive Order 2020-151, click the link below: