Whitmer watching cases, context as she mulls next steps

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday said she’s still hoping to move all of Michigan into the next phase of reopening by July 4, though that’s not set in stone.

Whitmer said Tuesday that she would not move the rest of the state into phase 5 — “containing” — of the six-phase plan this week, which she had initially hoped to do. Northern Michigan is already in that phase, but the rest of the state remains in phase 4, “improving.”

“We’re seeing some concerning increases in positive cases in different parts of our state,” Whitmer explained in a Wednesday video call with News 8 political reporter Rick Albin. “So we’re going to continue to watch the data. We’re going to see what those positive rates are. We’re also going to understand the context, and that’s why the tracing is so important.”

She said testing and contact tracing will allow health officials to determine whether they’re dealing with a contained outbreak or broad community spread, and that will inform the actions she takes.

==See Albin’s conversation with Whitmer above.==

When asked if she was considering reissuing some of the restrictions that were previously lifted, she said it’s possible but she wanted to avoid it.

“What we’re seeing across the country right now are different parts of our nation heating up. They didn’t take it as seriously as we did on the front end. They haven’t encouraged people to wear masks. And now they’ve got uncontrolled community spread and so they’re now talking about going into shutdowns,” Whitmer said. “We know that COVID-19 is still here. The virus has not changed. What changed was our behavior: staying home, wearing a mask when we did go out, washing our hands, staying 6 feet apart. And that helped us contain this spread. But the virus is still here, and so the fact that some people are starting to drop their guard is very alarming. And that’s why it’s really important, no matter who you are, that you take this seriously and if you are able to wear a mask, you should keep wearing one so long as you’re out in public.”

Whitmer also talked about the possibility of schools reopening in the fall and how the state is dealing with a flood of unemployment claims.


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