Everything you should know about COVID-19 in Michigan before Gov. Whitmer’s briefing (Dec. 29)

Michigan under revised COVID-19 order

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File) (Uncredited, Michigan Office of the Governor)

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced she will provide an update Tuesday on Michigan’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Whitmer will be joined by Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The briefing is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Click here to watch the briefing live.

Here’s what you should know before the governor’s update:

MDHHS order

Michigan is currently under a revised order that heightened COVID-19 restrictions. The original order was issued in November and has twice been extended.

Michigan’s new COVID-19 order now in effect: Here’s what’s reopened and what’s still closed

In mid-December, MDHHS revised the order to reopen certain entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys, movie theaters and casinos, though concessions are not allowed.

Indoor dining at restaurants is still among the activities banned by the state.

The current order is in effect until Jan. 15, but Whitmer said during her last briefing that the state would consider resuming some activities earlier if significant progress is made.

Core COVID-19 values

Michigan’s top health director revealed the two “core, science-based ideas” experts are using to decide what should be allowed to reopen and what should remain closed due to COVID-19 in the state.

MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said the latest order is “based on settled science and Michigan values.”

“We are cautiously moving to address other activities based on two core, science-based values,” Gordon said.

Here are the two values Gordon mentioned:

  • If someone is indoors, they need to wear a mask.
  • If someone is indoors, they should try to minimize the number of indoor gatherings with people outside of their household.

Latest numbers update

On Monday, Michigan announced a two-day total of 3,239 new COVID-19 cases and 60 additional deaths. That’s an average of 1,619.5 cases and 30 deaths per day over the two days.

In total, the state has reported 477,269 cases and 12,029 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Since flirting with 10,000 new cases per day in October and November, Michigan has significant decreased its case, hospitalization and positivity rates since MDHHS issued new restrictions.

The next update will be released between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday. The state will not update daily numbers on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

Unemployment benefits will be delayed

The additional $300 weekly unemployment payments for residents who qualify for COVID-19 relief will be delayed in Michigan, officials said.

Congress passed a COVID-19 relief package that extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation federal unemployment programs.

According to a release posted on the state website, Michigan and all other states must wait until guidance is issued from the Department of Labor before the provisions in the act can be implemented.

“Due to the timing of the legislation’s finalization, there will be a delay in certification and payment of benefits for those currently enrolled in the federal PUA and PEUC programs beginning Dec. 26,” a release says. “This will only be a disruption and claimants will be made whole once the extensions are fully implemented.”

Michigan businesses fined for violations

Dozens of Michigan businesses have been fined for COVID-19 safety violations since the start of the pandemic, and the state has recently added five more to the list.

From failing to develop a response plan to endangering employees to loose mask enforcement, the state listed a number of violations.

Click here to see which businesses were fined, and what the state said they did.

Vaccine distribution

On Monday, the first nursing home patients in Michigan began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.

Nearly 140 patients and some of the staff at Rivergate Terrace Care Center were among the first to get their shots. Rivergate Terrace Care Center will also get another round of the vaccine on Jan. 4.

Long term care centers accounted for more than 35,000 of Michigan’s cases and 4,400 deaths during the pandemic.

Michigan health officials have set a goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16. That’s about 5.6 million people, by the end of 2021, according to the state.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.