Whitmer Extends State Of Emergency In Michigan Through September 4

WWJ News
August 07, 2020 - 2:41 pm
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(WWJ) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has once again extended her emergency and disaster declaration in Michigan, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Executive Order 2020-165, signed by the governor on Friday, extends Michigan's State of Emergency until September 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. 

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The purpose of the order is to allow Whitmer to continue using executive powers granted under Michigan law only in an emergency. The order shouldn't be confused with Whitmer's stay-home order, which was lifted back on June 1.

“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, in a statement. “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.” 

READ: Executive Order 2020-,165

Every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases over the past several weeks, according to the state, and daily case counts in late July exceeded 50 cases per million statewide.

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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. While cases in Michigan have increased since June, our numbers 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 flow to Michigan families. Without that money, the governor's office says many families in Michigan will struggle to pay their bills or even put food on the table. 

In addition to these challenges, many Michigan students will return to in-person instruction over the next month, increasing the risk of outbreaks, the governor noted. 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 governor's office says 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.