Whitmer eyes some steps forward in W MI

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With bars, restaurants and retail shops in northern Michigan opening Friday, the rest of the people in the state wonder when it will be their turn.

“We are watching to see that we are continuing to increase our testing. We’re also watching to see how many of those percentages are positive in terms of how many tests we’re conducting. What is our hospitalization rate? What is our capacity in our hospitals?” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer listed the criteria being considered for economic reengagement.

She won’t set specific benchmarks in terms of numbers, saying context of cases is key in making decisions.

“I think that’s one of the frustrations that people understandably have, is they want to know if we hit a certain number, this means we turn the knob and we go to the next step. But it’s not that simple,” Whitmer said. “And as (Michigan’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun) has tried to explain in our press conferences, context matters. And so if you see 25 cases crop up in Petoskey, the question is, what’s going on there? Is it 25 cases randomly around the community, which is very concerning because that’s community spread, or is it 25 cases because of one facility?”

She said the data out of Grand Rapids that her team is seeing shows it’s too soon to reopen on the scale soon allowed in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Pensinsula.

“It doesn’t look as though it’s community spread but it’s still concerning and that’s why that region is still in phase three (of a six-phase reengagement spectrum),” Whitmer said. “Now it’s very likely that we’re going to be able reengage additional sectors of our economy and continue moving forward, but I would anticipate in the coming days there’ll be some smaller adjustments and then hopefully in the coming week or so we’ll be able to go into the next phase.”

When asked, the governor said her stay-at-home order, currently in effect through May 28, would be extended  “to some extent,” though it sounded like some of its restrictions could be relaxed.

“It’s going be a while before we going to fully vet it that it’s safe to have general public reengagement,” she said.

  

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