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Gov. Whitmer says Michigan’s tighter restrictions are reason for improved COVID situation

‘It’s because the pause worked,’ Whitmer says

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a Feb. 17, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the reason Michigan is in a stronger COVID-19 position than many other states is the “pause” that tightened restrictions and created an incremental reopening process.

On Wednesday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, once again presented improving COVID-19 metrics for the state.

  • Case rate: 113 cases per million people (down 85% from November peak).
  • Percent positivity: 3.9% (declining over last five weeks).
  • Hospitalization rate: 5.2% (down 79% from late fall peak).
  • Outbreaks: Down 7% from previous week.

Michigan has been able to keep its COVID-19 numbers on the decline despite the spread of the B117 variant, which has infected a confirmed 157 residents across 12 counties in the state, according to Khaldun.

Whitmer was asked about the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association’s plan for expanding indoor dining capacity. Right now, restaurants are limited to 25% capacity and must close by 10 p.m.

READ: 11 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s latest COVID update

She said she appreciates everyone wants to have a voice in the matter and that the MRLA’s input will be part of the conversation about restrictions.

With that being said, decisions will continue to be made based on COVID-19 metrics and scientific data.

“Michigan is in a stronger position than most other states in the nation right now,” Whitmer said. “It’s because the pause worked. It’s because we’re being very thoughtful about incrementally reengaging sectors of our economy that just inherently pose a higher risk.”

Whitmer said she knows strict COVID-19 regulations have been difficult for many businesses, primarily restaurants. She called on the Michigan Legislature to work with her to pass the MI COVID Recovery Plan.

“Our success is dependent on having the resources to get people inoculated, to support businesses that have struggled through this time, to make sure that we have the ability to reengage in-person education in a safe way and be successful at it,” Whitmer said.

The governor said she will “always take input,” but what she really needs now is partnership to focus on a pathway out of the pandemic.


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