Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended Michigan’s state of emergency until July 16.
The state of emergency, which was first implemented at the end of March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, was set to expire Friday (June 19).
Whitmer made it clear during a Wednesday briefing that it would be extended, and on Thursday, she made it official.
“The aggressive measures we took at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have worked to flatten the curve, but there is still more to be done to prevent a second wave,” Whitmer said. “We owe it to the heroes on the front lines to keep doing our part by wearing a mask when in public and practicing social distancing. Now is not the time to get complacent. We must continue to stay vigilant and flexible in order to reduce the chance of a second wave.”
Michigan was under a stay-at-home order for more than two months before it was lifted June 1. Most of the state is currently in phase four of the governor’s reopening plan, with regions six and eight in phase five.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan has risen to 60,618 as of Thursday, including 5,818 deaths, state officials report.
Thursday’s update represents 225 new cases and 26 additional deaths. Wednesday’s total was 60,393 confirmed cases and 5,792 deaths.
Michigan has reported 44,964 COVID-19 recoveries. The state also reports “active cases,”which were listed at 9,700 as of Tuesday.
Here’s a look at the data in Michigan:
- View more: Michigan COVID-19 data
- View more: Tracking Michigan COVID-19 hospitalization data trends
- More: Reopening Michigan updates
With coronavirus case numbers down in Michigan, health officials are stressing the need to stay vigilant about social distancing and wearing masks in order to to maintain the downward trend.
How much can social distancing, wearing a mask and eye protection help?
A recent paper published in the medical journal “The Lancet” looked at 172 previous studies for the evidence behind physical distancing, face masks and eye protection to prevent spread of coronavirus in both healthcare settings and the community.
Social distancing has become a catch phrase of the pandemic, but we’re really referring to physical distancing. The recommended distance of six feet apart was based on older data on the distance droplets could travel. The new study suggests staying about a meter or three feet apart cuts the risk of infection to 3 percent.
Residents are frustrated because they need answers and information from the UIA, but offices remain closed.
With the website having issues and the phone system jammed, it seems like opening offices would help make the process smoother.
What’s causing the delay? There are a variety of factors at play, but the main issue is staffing, Local 4 was told. The UIA is preparing for possible large crowds, and they’ll need to enforce social distancing and have security in place.
Unemployment has become a hot button issue in Michigan, and the challenges have angered many residents. Officials said safety has to be part of the opening plan.
“The UIA is working with the Office of the State Employer to develop a plan on the potential reopening of its field officers,” a UIA spokesperson said. “We will ensure that we use staff resources efficiently and effectively to continue to best serve UIA customers.”