DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the extension of the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order to at least the end of April.
Whitmer signed executive order 2020-42, extending the order through April 30. As with the prior order, Executive Order 2020-42 limits gatherings and travel and requires all workers who are not necessary to sustain or protect life to stay home.
Executive Order 2020-42 also imposes more stringent limitations on stores to “reduce foot traffic, slow the spread of the coronavirus, and save lives.”
“Michigan has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and we’re still on the upswing. We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” said Governor Whitmer. “Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. When we do, we can save lives and shorten the amount of time we’re working through this crisis, which will be good for our families and good for our economy in the long-run. We can also protect critical infrastructure workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, and child care workers. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that people stay home and stay safe.”
“It’s clear that staying home is the most effective way we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “This aggressive action will help us protect more people and ease the strain on our health care system.”
More info on the new order:
Executive Order 2020-42 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers who meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that in-person work.
Workers who are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more. For a full list of these critical infrastructure workers, click the link to Executive Order 2020-42 at the bottom of this page. To enable these critical workers to get to their workplaces, automobile dealerships will now be allowed to open for remote sales, though showrooms must remain closed.
Under the new order, all public and private gatherings among persons outside a single household remain temporarily prohibited. Though Michiganders may leave the house to get groceries or needed supplies, the new order encourages people to limit the number of household members running errands to the maximum extent possible. As before, people may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders. The order clarifies, however, that travel for vacations or for any other purpose is prohibited.
A new section of the order imposes restrictions on stores in an effort to reduce crowds. Large stores must limit the number of people in the store at one time to no more than 4 customers for every 1,000 square feet of customer floor space; small stores must limit capacity to 25% of the total occupancy limits (including employees) under the fire codes. To regulate entry, stores must establish lines with markings for patrons to enable them to stand at least six feet apart from one another while waiting. Large stores must also close areas of the store that are dedicated to carpeting, flooring, furniture, garden centers, plant nurseries, or paint.
“This doesn’t mean everything will go back to normal on May 1,” Gov. Whitmer continued. “But based on the data we have right now, this is the appropriate window for an extension. It will take time to safely and responsibly re-open the economy, which is why we will continue to provide critical unemployment support and assistance to our small businesses during this challenging time. We will get through this if we all continue to do our part.”
All individuals who leave their home or place of residence must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household.
Monday (April 6) marked three weeks since Gov. Whitmer’s order to close most public spaces, including restaurants, bars and gyms. Tuesday (April 7) marked two weeks since the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order went into effect, and four weeks since Michigan’s first confirmed cases.
Last week, state officials suggested the state was likely a month or so away from an apex of cases, but over the weekend, the White House suggested cases in Metro Detroit could peak later this week.
Gov. Whitmer said Monday that the state’s models are looking at more Michigan specific data than federal models, repeating that they expect a peak in late April or early May.
Increase in cases doesn’t discredit social distancing
It is important to note that while the number of cases is going up, it does not mean social distancing is not working. People who are testing positive now could have been exposed to the virus several weeks ago, and many people don’t show symptoms for several days.
It will take weeks to see the results of the stay-at-home order and other social distancing measures that have been put in place. Additionally, the state is still reporting results from a backlog of tests.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
- Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus
- Full coverage: Coronavirus in Michigan
Here’s the Michigan county case count mapped and the total number of cases in each US state:
Here are Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths mapped per county:
Here are Michigan COVID-19 cases broken down by age range (view here if you’re not seeing the table):
Here are Michigan COVID-19 cases broken down by gender (view here if you’re not seeing the table):
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
Prevention & Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.