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Gov. Whitmer visits vaccine clinic after first milestone hit in state reopening plan

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Posted at 7:05 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 07:05:24-04

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer visit a Kalamazoo County vaccine clinic on Tuesday as the state of Michigan reached the 55% benchmark for those who have been vaccinated.

RELATED: Michigan reaches 55% of residents with at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine

With 55% vaccinated, the rollout on Gov. Whitmer's reopening plan is set to start in under two weeks.

To go any further into the plan, she said it's going to take mutual effort.

"We all want to resume the things that we have been missing out on for a long part of our experience with COVID," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Finally reaching the first step in the plan to reopen the state of Michigan, workplaces are now preparing to bring their employees back to the office.

"Employers are very cognizant of the fact that they want to make sure as they re-engage, many of them are going to do so incrementally. Many are learning lessons from what worked over the last 15 months and how to ensure the confidence of their workforce. Each employer is going to handle it a little bit differently," said Gov. Whitmer.

The state is also working with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to set guide rails as people go back.

Gov. Whitmer said the benchmark was reached as the state was able to roll in some of the federal information of those Michigan residents who were vaccinated in other states.

"As there are adjustments to be made, we will make sure you know why a number may have jumped up a little bit or not as much as we might have expected. We will be sharing that so you are able to understand what is going on. We want to count everyone in Michigan," said Gov. Whitmer.

In Kalamazoo County, the health officer said they're vaccinating about 4,000 people at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center each week.

"Right now we are probably around 57-58%. We are I think in a good spot," said Kalamazoo Health and Community Services Department Health Officer Jim Rutherford.

Even though some areas in the state are ahead in vaccination rates, Gov. Whitmer said re-opening needs to stay consistent.

For example, Leelanau County in Northern Michigan already hit 70% of vaccinated individuals.

"To declare one part of Northern Michigan for instance, a place that we can drop our guard, it might draw people from all over the state. I think that is why we still need to have that statewide view," said Gov. Whitmer.

Gov. Whitmer encourages anyone who may have got their vaccine in another state to contact their local health department to ensure you're being counted in Michigan's vaccination rates.

The next step in the reopening plan is 60% where indoor capacity would be increased in certain places, and the curfew on restaurants and bars would be lifted.