LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says coronavirus numbers in the state are trending in the right direction after April’s surge.
“After cases ticked up in April, I encouraged all of us to double down on basic health protocols and now nearly two weeks into may we have bent the curve,” Whitmer said at a Wednesday press conference. “Cases are down more than 60 percent and hospitalizations have fallen over 30 percent since our mid-April peak.”
So far the state has administered a total of 7.5 million doses of the vaccines, Whitmer said.
Michigan reached its first vaccination milestone this week. As of Monday, 55 percent of Michiganders have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This step is the first of four reopening thresholds that Whitmer's administration has established based on vaccine compliance.
“Every day we’re getting closer to putting this pandemic behind us, the way to get there is to vaccinate as many Michiganders who are eligible as quickly as possible,” Whitmer said.
The first restriction changes are expected to begin on May 24. The loosened restrictions will allow in-person work to resume for all industries in the state. People returning to offices will still be expected to wear masks and socially distance inside buildings.
Whitmer was joined by Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive and chief deputy director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, who encouraged residents to get vaccinated and to reach out to trusted local medial professionals with questions or concerns about the vaccines.
“Today I’m asking every primary care doctor to enroll as a vaccine provider. The most important thing we can do right now is to make vaccines available for whenever someone is ready,” Khaldun said. “We know that patients trust their doctors, and, when they’re ready to get vaccinated, we want you to have the vaccine on hand.
The state’s efforts to reach all Michiganders is still underway, Khaldun said.
“We are in a new phase of fighting this virus, this is certainly not over,” she said. “We still have the virus very present across the entire state. I’m calling on everyone to do what we know works to keep our numbers trending down.”
Michigan’s next goal is to reach 60 percent of residents with at least one dose of the vaccine, at which point capacity for indoor stadiums, conference centers, banquet halls and funeral homes will increase to 25 percent. Additionally, gyms and exercise facilities will be allowed to increase their capacity to 50 percent.
The 11 p.m. curfew for restaurants will also be canceled.
“I got my second shot 13 days ago, meaning I can enjoy the benefits of an effective level of immunity starting tomorrow,” Whitmer said in closing. “I'm really excited. I can't wait to see my friends who I have not been able to hang out with for a long time. If you get vaccinated, we can all get back to doing the things we love with the people we love.”
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