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Gov. Whitmer urges residents to take care of each other during pandemic

Posted at 5:38 AM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 15:49:27-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging Michigan residents to take care of each other during the coronavirus pandemic.

She urged residents to get out and donate supplies to local medical facilities, or donate to food banks. She encouraged Michigan residents to reach out if they feel they are struggling.

The governor mentioned the state will be taking part in the Work Share program which will impact over 31,000 state employees and is expected to save up to $80 million in decreased wage costs.

Gov. Whitmer said Michigan is in the third phase of the Michigan Safe Start program. She said a sharp decrease in deaths, contact tracing and increased hospital capacity will be some of the factors that will come into play when deciding to move to phase four of the program.

The governor said there is no set number to determine what sectors can open when.

During her press conference, the governor said without the stay-home order, there would have been 32,000 more positive cases and 3,480 deaths along with an overwhelmed healthcare system.

Gov. Whitmer said there is nothing wrong with getting outside as temperatures warm up, but social distancing and wearing masks outdoors are still necessary.

"We drop our guard now, all of our sacrifices will have been in vain," the governor said.

In regards to a stay-home extension, she said she will continue to make decisions based on data and guidance from epidemiologists, as well as the amount of PPE the state has.

With a suspected protest expected to take place at the State Capitol Thursday, the governor said she would rather not see people congregate together, but asked residents to prioritize their health and the health of others when it comes to protesting.

MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun also provided an update during the press conference. She said local health departments are analyzing "COVID-19 Clusters" throughout the state.

She said the state is continuing to focus on the elder population, monitoring nursing care facilities in the state. She said nursing home cases represent about 6% of the total cases in the state.

She gave thanks to local health departments for their work in fighting COVID-19, highlighting the Ingham County Health Department for using its mobile dental clinic for COVID-19 testing.

Maureen Frances, a local realtor, talked about the work realtors are doing to keep people safe while showing homes such as not sharing pens, tablets, or touching items in-house.

Rachel Lutz, a small business owner in Detroit, said small businesses are the glue of the economy. She said she had to layoff 20 of her employees who she thinks about every day.

"This virus has ravaged my business," Lutz said.

She thanked the state of Michigan for advocating on behalf of small businesses during this time.

As of Monday, the state has 48,391 positive cases of coronavirus with 4,714 deaths.

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