DETROIT – Inside a newly released report from the White House, while Michigan is currently in the middle of a coronavirus spike, parts of the state are teetering on the edge of a move back to stricter lockdown conditions.
The report, which was sent out to states but was not released to the public was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.
The data used covers the weeks of June 28 to July 12, just as cases surged after the Fourth of July holiday. It shows Michigan mostly in the yellow category which is designated by 10-100 cases per 100,000 or a positive test rate between 5 percent and 10 percent. Michigan’s only “red” categories were the percent change in cases which was 22 percent and the percent change of positive tests which was 0.9 percent.
The White House also points out in the potential 17 hotspots including both cities and counties. The list of cities included Saginaw, Iron Mountain and Ann Arbor where Michigan football players recently resumed volunteer workouts and player-led practices. It also places border South Bend-Mishawaka and Marinette in Michigan, despite also listing those cities in their respective states of Indiana and Wisconsin, which does increase Michigan’s list of yellow cities.
The counties include Washtenaw, Oceana, Saginaw, Monroe, Newyago, Barry, Dickinson, Losco, Gogebic and Lake counties. The warning matches recent state data which shows the western portion of the state struggling to contain community spread of the virus.
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The report also recommends the state take some steps to “preempt exponential community spread,” some of which Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is already doing like limiting social gatherings to 25 people and requiring masks in businesses which the governor strengthened Friday afternoon to require business owners to ask unmasked customers whether they have a medical condition preventing them from following the state’s mask mandate.
“If everyone in Michigan masks up, we can save thousands of lives and put ourselves in a better position to send our kids back to school in the fall,” Whitmer said Friday.
However, there are some recommendations the state isn’t following, like calling for reduced public interaction by half or providing isolation centers for those unable to quarantine at home effectively to avoid spread.
Missing from the list of hotspots are some of Michigan’s most populous areas, including Detroit and Lansing. Recent cases erupted in the latter after people attended a crowded bar in late June, forcing state officials to scramble to get contact tracing done to track the spread of the virus.
According to state figures, Michigan’s average case load per day jumped from 421 to 601 cases in the course of a week as the state continues to grapple with a three week trend of increasing cases. As of Friday afternoon, the current case total was up 660 cases bringing the state total to 72,502 cases with the number of probable cases bring that number to more than 80,000.
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