Gov. Whitmer warns Michigan could take steps backward if trouble COVID-19 trends continue

Governor asks residents to wear masks

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is alarmed by Michigan’s coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers, saying the new positive cases are about three times what the state had a few weeks ago.

She is redoubling her efforts to get Michiganders to wear masks and slow the spread of the coronavirus. Right now, Whitmer believes everything turns on the state being able to send children back to school in the fall.

“I am not announcing a step back today,” Whitmer said.

She stood pat on Michigan’s reopening but warned that could quickly change.

“If we want to be in position in eight weeks from now where we can get our kids back (to) in-person education, this trend cannot continue,” Whitmer said.

She isn’t giving specifics on what a step back might look like. She said context matters and pointed to the outbreak at Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in East Lansing.

Even though the health department traced nearly 140 positive COVID-19 cases, there’s actually good news, Whitmer said.

“It is much different than 140 cases that are totally random where you don’t know what is happening and it’s community spread that is unchecked, untraceable and thus hard to isolate,” Whitmer said.

Contact tracing is increasingly important, next to testing, in terms of future progress or lack thereof.

Whitmer also reiterated her longstanding attention to the frontline workers, particularly in hospitals and shops. She believes it is a respectful tip of the cap to wear a mask.

“A mask is the safest way to protect yourself from the spread of COVID-19, to protect your family from the spread of COVID-19, to protect your neighbors and coworkers and to protect the economy from another potential step backwards,” Whitmer said.

She also discussed enforcement, as the burden is currently on stores to enforce the mask rules.

Whitmer also signed and ordered a COVID-19-related medical training program on implicit bias.

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