With a year of the pandemic behind us, state officials are asking Michiganders to double down on COVID-19 prevention voluntarily.
“I’m calling on high schools to voluntarily return to full remote learning for the next two weeks. I’m calling on youth sports to voluntarily cancel games and practices for the next two weeks,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a press conference Friday.
“Let me be clear, I’ve said this before, just because something is open does not mean it is safe or you should do it,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of the state.
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released a statement in response to state officials’ recommendations, calling the guidance misguided.
“We trust our operators to continue to provide a safe environment indoors or out in the coming weeks and we trust Michiganders to do their part to act responsibly and respectfully to help us achieve that outcome,” the statement said.
Whitmer says the state won’t be mandating a return to restrictions, but she hopes people will take COVID-19 prevention seriously.
“Our rise in cases is a compliance, variants, and mobility problem,” Whitmer said.
The MDHHS is currently tracking 991 recent outbreaks linked to schools, restaurants, retail, and care facilities across the state. With more transmissible variants, community spread is a major concern.
“Our labs have identified 2,262 of these variant cases in 60 counties across the state. And there are likely many more that we don’t even know about,” Khaldun said.
Michigan’s latest surge has made the state a national hot spot for COVID-19. Health departments across the state are experiencing the highest positivity rate we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic. Whitmer says she and other leaders are working to get more vaccine supply from the White House.
“Michigan often has been on the front end of these numbers and that could be what’s happening here which is why it’s so important that we surge vaccines into hot spots and I’ll continue fighting for that,” Whitmer said.
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