LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is considering re-engaging more of the economy very soon, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked why the state quietly extended the current COVID-19 order without its usual announcement.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a three-week pause in mid-November, and that pause has been extended and revised several times throughout the last three months.
Typically, any extension or revision of the order is accompanied by a press release or announced by Whitmer as a prominent part of her weekly COVID briefings.
But that wasn’t the case earlier this month, when the MDHHS that was previously scheduled to last until Feb. 21 was quietly extended to March 29 without a public announcement.
“Was that done on purpose to keep that more quiet, and then do you understand how some people have issues with transparency with that?” Whitmer was asked.
Here is the governor’s full response to the question:
“I was a little surprised by the reaction, to tell you the truth,” Whitmer said. “Anyone who’s just even casually watched over the last 12 months knows we have a tendency to have about a three-week cadence. We make a change, see how it’s going, watch the data, report on the data, make changes along the way. But usually, three weeks or longer increments, and that’s no different in this case.
“So frankly, I was a little bit surprised by the kind of characterization of it. We’ve been very open. We’ve been sharing data every step of the way. There are a lot of reasons to feel very positive right now. The variant is not a good reason to feel positive, with being the second-most variants in the country right now, in terms of the B117, in terms of the sheer number of cases.”
“But, you know, we still are seeing low positivity numbers and high vaccination rates, so it’s generally headed in the right direction and if you think about that timeline, it would probably conclude justifiably that in the coming days we will be assessing and making more determinations on a number of fronts.”
It’s true that many of Michigan’s extensions, even going back to last year’s stay-at-home order, have come about three weeks apart. But none had been executed without a clear announcement.