33ºF

Michigan’s chief medical executive testifies before committee overseeing state’s COVID-19 response

Lawmakers question Khaldun on range of topics

LANSING, Mich. – On Monday morning, Michigan’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun appeared remotely before a joint House and Senate committee that is overseeing the state’s COVID-19 response.

Lawmakers questioned her on a range of topics, often with the seeming intent to identify the data used by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her Executive Orders.

The COVID-19 is a medical and public health event. Because it’s happening during a very political year, there are deep disagreements on the steps that have been taken to contain it. Khaldun summarized where the data puts Michigan now.

“We look at how the disease is spreading across the state. It varies locally, it varies regionally. And we look at various epidemiological metrics, whether it’s cases, tests, percent positivity, you’ve heard us talk about a lot -- but we also don’t look at it just one point in time. But we look at trends over time, which is really important,” Khaldun said.

Issues raised by lawmakers included concerns about drug use, suicide, isolation in nursing homes, domestic violence and mental health issues related to the pandemic.

Khaldun said her role is to advise Whitmer. She is not the decision-maker on Executive Orders. As far as where things stand currently, she said she is very concerned about current trends and re-emphasized the need to slow the spread of COVID-19 through masks, distancing, avoiding gatherings and doing things outside instead of inside when possible.

Khaldun said Michigan did submit an interim COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan to the CDC on Friday. She said that a vaccine would be in limited quantities at first and would be for health care workers at the highest risk.

READ: Continuous coronavirus coverage


About the Authors: