LANSING, Mich (WLNS) — Michigan House Republicans on Tuesday announced their plan to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, promising more transparency in decision-making and to allow communities to more carefully tailor mitigation efforts.
Republicans say the plan relies on science-based, county-level data to guide decisions to keep people healthy and determine appropriate COVID-19 restrictions.
“This is a data-driven plan that will work in partnership with the medical community to shape the best COVID-19 responses for Michigan. Those responses may vary from place to place as the prevalence of the virus and other local conditions may vary,” said Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso. “This approach aligns with the feedback I’ve heard from local health experts about the importance of more community-based strategies to keep the curve flattened while protecting lives and livelihoods across our state.”
Under the plan, public health experts will have the option to modify their COVID-19 policies at the county level, potentially loosening state limits on gathering sizes, restaurant capacity and other measures that would remain in place in other counties.
Health thresholds allowing local decision-making would be based on five scientific metrics:
- Case rate: The number of confirmed community spread cases over a 14-day period is below 55 cases per million people.
- Positivity rate: The rate of positive tests related to community spread over a 14-day period must be below 5%.
- Surge and hospital capacity: Hospitals must be able to handle a 20% surge in admissions or patient transfers, and they must be below a 25% hospitalization increase in the previous 14 days.
- Sufficient PPE supply: Local health facilities must have at least a two-week supply of personal protective equipment on hand.
- Ability to test for COVID-19: Counties must be able to test 15 people per 10,000 residents per day and turn around test results in three days or less.
“This plan provides certainty and offers hope to guide Michigan through the stress and confusion of this pandemic,” said Rep. Julie Calley of Portland. “You will have a voice in determining the COVID-19 responses in place in your own community. And when a decision is made, you will know why. By empowering people and listening to science, Michigan will have a safe, sensible and improved response to the virus as we move forward to better days ahead.”
“The health of Michiganders should never be politicized, and this plan ensures politics has no place in determining the state’s response to COVID-19,” said Rep. Graham Filler of DeWitt. “People expect and deserve the governor and the Legislature to work together in a bipartisan effort to address COVID-19 – and this plan will move our state forward in that direction.”
“We learn more about COVID-19 every day, and our state response should improve with this knowledge,” said Rep. Sarah Lightner of Springport. “Our plan is the proper response regardless of whether COVID cases are rising, falling or stable because it accounts for all of these scenarios – prioritizing health and safety, transparency and consistency. This is all based on clear guidance and science-based decision-making.”
“This is not a new concept, but certainly a different approach for Michigan that empowers people and communities to implement best practices,” VanWoerkom said. “Top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates leave people confused and without hope. This plan gives communities something to strive and work together toward.”