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Michigan health director explains need for expanded COVID-19 restrictions

Robert Gordon urges Michigan residents to not get together for Thanksgiving

DETROIT – Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is the person responsible for implementing the governor’s newly instituted COVID-19 restrictions.

On Monday, he reminded Michigan residents that they should expect a vastly different Thanksgiving than the ones they had previously.

Still, Gordon believes there is optimism on the horizon. He talked to Local 4 News about the latest COVID-19 restrictions announced Sunday night.

Gordon believes things are as bad as they were last spring in terms of cases. Now he is worried an increase in deaths are soon to follow.

He’s asking Michiganders to change their plans for this Thanksgiving.

“I think people need to really minimize getting together with people outside their own homes. I hate to say that, it’s painful. It’s painful for me personally as a father of two, but I think every time you’re inside with folks not from your household and particularly in a setting where people taking off their masks and eating, which we all know is what Thanksgiving is all about there’s just a lot of risk associated with that,” said Gordon.

One of the reasons for this is what Gordon characterizes as community spread, and an increase hospitalizations.

He told Local 4 News the difference between now and last spring, is the presence of the coronavirus has changed dramatically.

“Right now it’s all over the state. It’s everywhere we are seeing deaths begin to rise to a level we saw last spring and the numbers of cases we are measuring are far higher than we saw last spring,” he said.

Gordon believes this three week “pause” over Thanksgiving should help bend this new curve. If it doesn’t, we could get tightened restrictions.

He said he’s optimistic because not one, but two vaccines appear to be effective. Gordon believes they will play a large part of ending the pandemic.

“I think that means there is hope on the horizon. This does not have to last forever. What we’re going through now because it is all the more critical we do the hard things right now because if we do those things, we are going to save thousands of lives,” he said.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 264,576 as of Monday, including 8,049 deaths, state officials report.

Monday’s update represents 12,763 new cases and 55 additional deaths over the last two days.

How to track Michigan COVID-19 data

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit has been tracking the latest data to help better understand the situation across the state.

Our COVID-19 Data section tracks many of the key data points health officials are watching closely every single day.

Track key COVID-19 data points in Michigan:


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