Michigan Gov. Whitmer says decisions will not be political: ‘I’m not here to play games’

More than 3,800 COVID-19 related deaths in Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during briefing on May 1, 2020. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a coronavirus media briefing on Friday, addressing her decision to extend the state’s emergency declaration after the state’s Legislature refused.

Whitmer signed an Executive Order on Thursday extending the State of Emergency through May 28. The Republican-led Legislature refused to extend the declaration. Whitmer was asking for a 28 day extension before she extended it herself.

Related: Extending State of Emergency is not the same thing as extending stay-at-home order

Whitmer used the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 to extend the order. She also extended the State of Disaster through May 28.

“Yesterday’s scene at the Capitol was disturbing, to be quite honest. Swastikas and confederate flags and nooses and automatic rifles do not represent who we are as Michiganders,” Gov. Whitmer said, referring to a group of protesters who pushed into the State Capitol building with firearms on Thursday. "We came together as the arsenal of democracy to defeat the Nazis.”

Gov. Whitmer said she understands people are angry, but she can’t “just flip a switch” to return to normal. “It will not be business as usual in Michigan for a long time, but we’re starting to turn that dial.”

Gov. Whitmer, on Friday, signed an Executive Order to restart residential and commercial construction, real estate and other outdoor businesses on May 7.

“We will not be making decisions based on an arbitrary timeline, or political or legal pressure,” Gov. Whitmer said. “I’m not here to play games.”

“We’re not in a political crisis. We’re in a public health crisis. We’re in a global pandemic,” Gov. Whitmer said. “We have to listen to epidemiologists, not pollsters."

“I’m working to protect people’s lives and livelihood,” Gov. Whitmer said.

Gov. Whitmer called the decision by Republicans in the Legislature “reckless,” and “without substance," describing it as “political theater.”

Gov. Whitmer also encouraged anyone who needs non-emergency medical attention to go ahead and seek it, including things like cancer treatment, knee surgery and related issues.

Michigan’s stay-home order is in effect through May 15.

COVID-19 cases

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 42,356 as of Friday, including 3,866 deaths, state officials report.

The state also reported a new record for one-day tests, with 10,452 tests on April 29. Only 11.6 percent were positive. For reference, in the first week of April, the state was averaging about 3,200 tests per day, with around 40% positive.

State health officials are urging residents to continue staying home and to continue wearing a face covering when leaving home for essential reasons.

Dr. Khaldun said growth in Southeast Michigan continues to slow, but cases are rising in parts of the state, specifically in West Michigan. Increased testing factors into the region’s rise in cases, but health officials are monitoring for hospital capacity issues, noting ICU beds are near 70 percent in Kent County.


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