fbpx
Published in Economic Development
Gov. Whitmer Gov. Whitmer COURTESY PHOTO

Whitmer says decision on 3-week pause premature: ‘Next 2 months are going to be hard’

BY Tuesday, December 01, 2020 04:12pm

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer offered no new details Tuesday on whether the state’s three-week “pause” that has shuttered indoor dining and entertainment facilities will be extended beyond Dec. 8, though she expressed concern about rising cases and hospitalizations associated with holiday traveling.

“Too many people traveled for Thanksgiving and we will see our numbers increase very likely with that,” Whitmer said at a press conference today, suggesting the potential for additional travel ahead of the upcoming holidays. “The next two months are going to be hard.”

Whitmer was asked multiple times whether her administration plans to extend a three-week order that closed indoor dining at bars and restaurants in addition to activities at various entertainment and conference facilities. The Department of Health and Human Services emergency order is in place through Dec. 8.

“I’m sure that’s what is on a lot of peoples’ minds,” Whitmer said, adding that the state is working closely with health experts to model trends in case loads and hospitalizations. “At this point, it’s just really too early to say precisely where we’ll be in a few days, much less next week.”

The state reported a daily record 190 deaths on Tuesday, which exceeds 164 deaths reported in mid-April. Michigan has now reported 366,242 positive cases of COVID-19 and 9,324 deaths since March. 

The test positivity rate has dropped from 14 to 13 percent over the past two weeks, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Tuesday, which is still far greater than the 3 percent rate that public health experts say can contain community spread.

While Khaldun said she is “cautiously optimistic” about the trend in case numbers, she is also “very concerned” about travel that likely took place over Thanksgiving, which would likely show up in case loads over the next two to three weeks.

Meanwhile, Whitmer and Khaldun each expressed optimism about the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, perhaps as early as a few weeks in Michigan on a limited basis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering requests from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. to allow the emergency use of vaccines the companies have developed with promising early trials.

Khaldun said the state is actively working on a vaccine distribution plan, which could start as early as mid-December. Frontline health care workers will be among those prioritized first, she said, followed by workers and residents of congregate care facilities, other health care workers and “eventually the general public.”

“We hope to be able to have the vaccine available to the general public by late spring,” Khaldun said.

Whitmer called vaccine development “good news” and that “there is hope on the horizon. … There is a light at the end of this tunnel. We’re going to get through this.”

Read 7222 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 December 2020 16:33
SUBSCRIBE TO MIBIZ TODAY FOR WEST MICHIGAN’S FINEST BUSINESS NEWS REPORTING >