LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said if the current trajectory of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues, the state will be moved back to phase three of her reopening plan, meaning parts of the economy that reopened within the last month would be shut down once again.
“Right now we are trying to hold on to stay in phase four,” Whitmer said. “But if that trajectory continues, we have to move some regions back to phase three, that means there will be no in-person instruction (at schools).”
Michigan officials reported 891 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, which is the most daily cases since May 14. In that time, the highest daily total was 773 on May 18.
“What I can tell you is that if the numbers keep going where they’re going, it’s going to be very problematic, and we may very likely have to take some steps backward,” Whitmer said.
She said the next steps will be determined by what people do between now and when schools are scheduled to begin the fall semester -- 55 days away on Sept. 8.
Masks were again a common topic during Wednesday’s briefing, and Whitmer emphasized repeatedly that Michiganders need to follow her new mask guidelines if they want to move forward.
“I am hopeful that in the coming weeks we’re going to see these numbers go down, and perhaps we can solidify at least phase four, maybe even reengage more things in our economy,” Whitmer said. “But it all depends on mask wearing, and that’s why it’s so difficult to give you a hard and fast date, and a hard and fast number.”
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 recent coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whitmer’s handling of pandemic:
Health questions, advice: