Posted Aug. 7, 2020 | The Huron Hub
Governor Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-165 which extends the governor’s emergency and disaster declaration until September 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
“We are in a crucial time in our fight against COVID-19, and we must do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis from a second wave,” said Whitmer. “Today, I signed new emergency and disaster declarations using independent sources of statutory authority to continue saving lives. I will continue to use every tool at my disposal to protect Michiganders from the spread of this virus. I want to remind everyone in Michigan to wear a mask, practice safe physical distancing, and do everything in your power to fight COVID-19.”
Officials say every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases over the past several weeks, and daily case counts in late July exceeded 50 cases per million statewide.
“Michigan’s statewide positivity rate has also increased, from a low of 2% in mid-June to 3.5% in late July. The increase in cases reflects a national trend: COVID-19 cases are growing or holding steady in 40 states and deaths from COVID-19 are increasing in most of those states as well,” Whitmer said.
While cases in Michigan have increased since June, numbers here are below the national average, with roughly a 3.5% positivity rate in Michigan compared to 9% nationally, and considerably lower than surrounding states.
“COVID-19 is still devastating 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. “I will continue to work alongside her as we make decisions to protect families’ health and safety. Michiganders should still do their part by wearing a mask and practicing safe physical distancing. Be smart, and stay safe.”
Even as Michigan experiences unemployment rates not seen in decades, federal pandemic unemployment assistance has expired, with Congress deadlocked over a renewal.
Until it is renewed, the additional $600 federal pandemic benefit will no longer go to Michigan families.
“Without that money, many families in Michigan will struggle to pay their bills or even put food on the table,” Whitmer said.
In addition to these challenges, many Michigan students will return to in-person instruction over the next month, increasing the risk of outbreaks, health officials said.
States that have reopened schools have already begun to see new cases—a second-grader in Cherokee County, Georgia, a middle schooler in Greenfield, Indiana, and a high schooler in Corinth, Mississippi, have already tested positive for COVID-19 having attended school in person, triggering quarantines in those districts.
“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,” Whitmer said.