Gov. Whitmer provides Michigan COVID update

In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. Friday, April 9, 2021. Faced with the country's highest rate of new coronavirus infections, Whitmer on Friday urged a two-week suspension of in-person high school classes, all youth sports and indoor restaurant dining. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)
In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. Friday, April 9, 2021. Faced with the country's highest rate of new coronavirus infections, Whitmer on Friday urged a two-week suspension of in-person high school classes, all youth sports and indoor restaurant dining. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provided an update on the state’s coronavirus pandemic and response during a news conference Wednesday morning.

The live stream for this event has ended.

See more: 11 takeaways from COVID briefing: Restriction changes, Whitmer’s Florida trip, metrics ‘progress’

Gov. Whitmer was joined Wednesday by the state’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. The pair shared an update on the state’s efforts to slow COVID-19 spread.

The governor’s remarks come just after the state of Michigan reached a significant vaccination milestone on Monday: Now 55% of Michiganders have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, reaching the first vaccine goal within the state’s “MI Vacc to Normal” reopening plan. In-person work can now resume in Michigan in two weeks -- though it will be up to individual employers to determine how that will look for them.

Under the state’s current orders, Michigan residents and employees are not supposed to return to in-person work unless their jobs cannot be done remotely.

The next step of the state’s reopening plan will be reached once 60% of Michiganders receive at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 4,858,150 state residents need to get a dose of the vaccine to reach that 60% threshold -- which is likely to take some time, as the state’s vaccination rates have been on the decline since April.

When the second step of the plan is reached, several changes will be made to the state’s restrictions, including capacity limits at indoor venues, gyms and the restaurant curfew.

Read: Michigan hits first vaccine goal: What that means, restriction changes and what’s next

Each phase of the plan will go into effect two weeks after the vaccination percentage milestone is reached since COVID vaccines take two weeks after the final dose to reach peak effectiveness.

Whitmer’s news conference also comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prepares to review Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15. The Food and Drug Administration this week granted emergency use authorization of the vaccine for U.S. teens within that age range after Pfizer studies showed that the vaccine was 100% effective in over 2,000 adolescents.

See: CDC advisory panel to review Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds on Wednesday

COVID shots in children ages 12-15 could begin as soon as Thursday.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer has focused on vaccines as the state’s primary response to increased virus spread in recent months. She says that getting children and teens vaccinated is Michigan’s next “big push,” and that the state will open vaccines up to the age group as soon as they’re eligible.


More: Michigan COVID: Here’s what to know May 12, 2021


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