LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is scheduled to provide an update on the state’s handling of COVID-19 on Monday afternoon.
The briefing will begin at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Click here to watch it live.
Here’s everything you should know about the virus in Michigan before Whitmer’s briefing.
New MDHHS order
The state is one week away from a new version of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order going into effect.
On Feb. 1, the revised restrictions will allow restaurants to reopen for indoor dining. Stadiums can fill to a larger capacity and gathering restrictions were loosened slightly.
That order is in effect until Feb. 21.
Six cases of the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Michigan, and several other likely cases have been identified, according to health officials.
Five of the six cases are linked to the University of Michigan’s athletic department.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of MDHHS, has been warning residents about the likelihood of this variant making its way to Michigan. It is believed to be about 50% more contagious than the common version of COVID-19.
U of M athletics shut down
As a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 B.1.1.7, Michigan athletics have been shut down for two weeks, the university announced.
Officials with MDHHS said they issued a recommendation to U of M to halt all games, practices and individual workouts for two weeks. Michigan called the state’s letter a “mandate.”
The shutdown came one day after the men’s basketball team traveled to Purdue. Dozens of events involving several different teams will be canceled over the next two weeks.
Team members -- student athletes, coaches and team staff -- are asked to immediately isolate or quarantine until further notice.
The Michigan National Guard is expanding its COVID-19 support to help with the vaccination efforts across the state. Almost 300 more members of the National Guard are being deployed.
This announcement comes as the state scrambles to obtain enough vaccines to meet high demand. Since moving to Phase 1B, Michigan has struggled to keep up with the number of residents who want to schedule appointments and start the vaccination process.
Even though the rollout of the vaccine has lagged behind expectations, Michigan officials believe the state is currently on the right track.
There are new concerns that some Michiganders have been cutting in line for the vaccines, making it more difficult for those who are currently eligible.
On Saturday, the state of Michigan confirmed 1,601 new cases of COVID-19 and 221 additional deaths, including 205 from a Vital Records review.
With Saturday’s update, the state has now confirmed 548,069 cases and 14,291 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Khaldun has expressed some concern that Michigan’s case and hospitalization rates have showed signs of plateauing after declining steadily for several weeks. It’s a good sign that the numbers aren’t increasing, but they’re still much higher than experts would prefer, she said.
Officials will also have to monitor how the arrival of the new variant affects the spread of the virus.