LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s governor continues to push for bipartisan support of COVID-19 restrictions, saying 2,000 residents have died from the virus since she sent a letter to legislators three weeks ago.
READ: 9 major takeaways from Whitmer’s COVID-19 briefing on Dec. 15
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during her Tuesday briefing that she asked the Michigan Legislature to take action three weeks ago. While the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has already issued an order putting a pause on parts of the state through Dec. 20, she believes a bipartisan mask mandate would encourage Michiganders to better comply with the new rules.
“In the three weeks since I sent that letter, nearly 2,000 Michiganders have died from COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “That’s 2,000 people who were parents or grandparents or children and loved ones, people who were taken too soon.
“In that time, unfortunately, the Legislature’s only been in session for six days. They have not taken action on these measures. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Tension between Whitmer and the Republican-led Legislature has existed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers didn’t approve of Whitmer’s emergency orders issued throughout the pandemic, saying she shouldn’t be able to make such decisions without their approval.
Legislators eventually got their way when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the law Whitmer was using to issue those orders is “unconstitutional.”
But days after Whitmer’s orders were shot down by that ruling, MDHHS came out and issued its own orders, which mirrored many of the ones that were previously in place.
On Nov. 15, Whitmer and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon held a news conference to announce stricter COVID-19 rules were being put in place for three weeks -- from Nov. 18 through Dec. 8.
On Dec. 7, the pause was extended an additional 12 days -- until Dec. 20 -- so officials could gauge the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Michigan reported 4,730 new COVID-19 cases and 183 additional deaths (71 from a Vital Records review) on Tuesday, bringing the state totals to 442,715 cases and 10,935 deaths since the start of the pandemic.