LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is threatening to impose stricter mask laws amid a spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and mounting evidence that some residents aren’t taking precautions seriously.
“Over the past week, we have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Michigan, and over the holiday weekend, we saw countless Michiganders gathered in large groups to celebrate Fourth of July without a mask,” Whitmer said. “I think a lot of people saw this video footage from Cass County, Diamond Lake. Right now, the law requires that anyone in an enclosed public space has to wear a mask, and that means every store you’re going into. We’re reviewing that requirement and considering whether or not we need to take this a step further, to strengthen compliance, because we cannot let our guard down.”
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“The data is not looking so good,” said Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, the chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Khaldun said the situation isn’t as extreme as it was in the spring, but Michigan needs to “get back on track” to avoid the cases escalating further.
Whitmer compared Michigan’s spike with the much larger increases in many southern states.
“We cannot afford to play fast and loose with the rules, and just look at what’s happening with Florida,” Whitmer said. “It took less than two weeks for Florida to go from 100,000 to 200,000 positive cases, and the cases there are still climbing. Last week, they reported over 11,000 cases in one day. That can happen very quickly anywhere in this country if we drop our guard. Statewide, one in five cases are patients that are between the ages of 25 and 34. So, youth will not protect you from caring and spreading this virus to your friends and family and neighbors. We have got to all work together to protect one another.”
Whitmer said wearing a mask can reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus by about 70%.
“(Frontline workers) wear their masks every day,” Whitmer said. “We should be wearing ours, as well. We owe it to them, every time we make a trip out to the grocery store and the pharmacy. If we let our guard down, we could see a rapid increase in cases in Michigan. That means more people getting sick. That means more people dying from this disease. For the sake of your loved ones, for the sake of our economy, please mask up when you go out.
“PPE (personal protective equipment) is crucial to protect the heroes on the frontlines of this crisis, and to help us avoid a second wave as we safely reengage sectors of our economy.”
Current reopening status
Other than the Upper Peninsula and Traverse City Region, the entire state remains in the fourth phase of Whitmer’s reopening plan -- the “Improving” phase.
She originally planned to move to phase five by the Fourth of July weekend, but that plan changed as the number of new daily cases steadily rose late last month and into July. The aforementioned northern regions remain the only ones in phase five.
Here’s much more coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic from throughout the month of June.
Whitmer’s handling of pandemic:
- Michigan stay-at-home order timeline: 70 days, 4 extensions, ever-changing restrictions
- Why Whitmer thought June 1 was right time to lift stay-at-home order
- Here are all 136 executive orders issued by Whitmer during COVID-19 pandemic
- List of Michigan executive orders that are still active
- Michigan salon owners ‘disrespected’ by Whitmer telling people to ‘Google how to do a haircut’
- Whitmer apologizes for comment that offended hair salon owners
- Whitmer admits flaws in controversial COVID-19 nursing home policy
- Michigan lawmakers demand Whitmer stop placing COVID-19 patients in nursing homes
- Whitmer lifts restrictions on overnight summer camps, school sports
- Whitmer calls attempts to strip her powers ‘irresponsible, dangerous, foolish’
- Gov. Whitmer extends Michigan state of emergency until July 16
- Michigan lawmakers pass resolutions against Whitmer’s nursing home policy
- Whitmer signs order allowing professional sports to return in Michigan without fans
- What’s gone wrong in Michigan’s handling of coronavirus in nursing homes
- Here’s how 25 sports have been divided into high, moderate, low COVID-19 risk categories
- How first day of restaurants reopening went in Metro Detroit
- Checking in with Metro Detroit auto plants 3 weeks after reopening
- Many Metro Detroiters feeling anxious about returning to world after COVID-19 shutdown
- What Mackinac Island is doing to safely welcome visitors back
- How first day of reopening went for Michigan hair salons, barbershops, spas
- Metro Detroit teachers prepare to navigate new normal when school returns in fall
- West Bloomfield begins practice as high school football season resumes amid COVID-19 pandemic
- Michigan Republican legislators unveil plans for school to return this fall
- MLB to play 60-game season -- spring training starts next week, Opening Day in late July
- Are Detroit bars, restaurants following COVID-19 rules or will they be shut down again?
Health questions, advice:
- Metro Detroit doctors say coronavirus survivors reporting mental health issues
- Is it true that wearing a mask for an extended period of time can be harmful?
- Is it safe to see friends? Should children have play dates? COVID-19 expert shares advice
- Should you feel safe going to restaurants now that they’ve reopened in Michigan?
- Is it safe to start letting children play organized team sports in Michigan?
- Answering 5 common haircut questions: Is it safe? Can COVID-19 survive on hair?
- Who was most severely affected during peak of coronavirus cases in Metro Detroit?
- New research: Children much less likely to get coronavirus, experience symptoms
- Is coronavirus seasonal? Should infection rates slow during summer?
- How to help children keep up social connections during coronavirus pandemic
- Answering 5 travel questions: Driving safer than flying? Avoid parts of country? Stay in hotels?
- What Dr. Anthony Fauci said about a timeline for a coronavirus vaccine
- 8 possible COVID-19 exposure locations identified in Traverse City after group fails to follow rules
- Experts worried about parents who aren’t taking children to doctor’s appointments
- Michigan lawmaker wants Whitmer to overhaul state’s unemployment agency
- Will extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits be extended or replaced by ‘back-to-work’ bonus?
- Here’s what scammers are doing to target Michiganders filing for unemployment
- Metro Detroit businesses struggle to find workers amid COVID-19 unemployment bonuses
- Detroit mother spends 33 days on ventilator right after emergency birth due to COVID-19
- Recently married couple separated for 30 more days due to extension of US-Canadian border closure
- Detroit Lions cheerleader works as nurse during coronavirus pandemic
- 6 differences you might notice next time you have a doctor’s appointment
- What reopened schools look like with coronavirus restrictions
- Espresso Royale Coffee forced to permanently shut down business due to pandemic
- These 4 Metro Detroit cities are closing streets to give restaurants more outdoor dining space
- 5 differences you’ll notice when you visit Michigan salons, barbershops and spas
- 12 changes University of Michigan students will notice this school year due to COVID-19
- Here are all rule changes, roster limits, strict safety measures in MLB’s 101-page operations manual
- Survey finds one-third of Michigan parents don’t plan to send children back to class this fall
- Metro Detroit’s economy takes another blow as COVID-19 concerns cancel Woodward Dream Cruise