Gov. Whitmer on possibility of another Michigan shutdown: ‘We’re at a dangerous moment'

Whitmer: ‘We are sounding the alarm bell right now'

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her Oct. 21, 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) press briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked about the possibility of the state shutting down again due to rising COVID-19 cases, and she called right now “a dangerous moment."

On Wednesday, Michigan officials reported 1,597 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as 33 deaths. Before Wednesday’s update, the seven-day moving average for new cases in Michigan was at 1,670 -- the highest ever.

READ: How COVID-19 cases are trending in each Michigan region as numbers worsen statewide

“I’m just going to be frank: Our numbers are not good,” Whitmer said Wednesday at her COVID-19 press briefing. “They’re moving in the wrong direction. We know that our fate can change quickly.”

Michigan was shut down for months during the first COVID-19 spike. A stay-at-home order was issued March 23 and stayed in effect through June 1 for most of the state. Closures for certain businesses -- such as hair salons, movie theaters and bars -- lasted much longer.

Whitmer said the numbers reported right now indicate there will likely be more hospitalizations in the coming weeks.

“That’s why we are sounding the alarm bell right now,” Whitmer said. “These numbers are moving in the wrong direction. We’re at a dangerous moment where there’s the possibility of it just becoming community spread that becomes out of control.”

Whitmer said that’s the case in neighboring states, most notably Wisconsin, which had a similar battle between the governor and legislature. After the Wisconsin Supreme Court shot down COVID-19 executive orders, case rates in the state skyrocketed, according to Whitmer.

“That’s what we’re trying to avoid,” she said.

Michigan’s top doctor: In restaurants, wear mask until putting food in mouth, limit talking

Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, asked residents to take mask rules seriously, observe social distancing and prepare to be safe during the fall season and holidays.

“We’re sounding the alarm bells,” Whitmer said. “We want people to know we’re watching these numbers very closely.

“At this point, I don’t think that I can tell you precisely what the next week or the next two weeks look like. It depends on individuals, right now, rising to this challenge. ... If you want your kids to have the prospect of in-person learning, if you want to stay back at work, if you want to keep your business open or make sure that businesses stay open, every one of us has to do our part."

More coverage

Here’s much more previous coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer’s handling of pandemic:

Reopening Michigan:

Health questions, advice:




Individual stories:


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.