In this file photo dated February 24, 2021, provided by Michigan Governor’s Office, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the state is addressing during a speech in Lansing, Michigan. Governor Whitmer signed at least $ 2.5 billion in COVID-19 relief spending Tuesday. March 9, 2021, while she vetoed $ 650 million after the Michigan Republicans failed to negotiate with her and tied other aids to laws that would have curtailed her government’s power to impose pandemic restrictions.
Michigan Governor’s Office via AP
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has urged high schools to temporarily suspend face-to-face learning and residents to limit their activities as a surge in Covid-19 cases overwhelms the state’s public health system.
The governor also urged schools to voluntarily suspend youth sports games and practices, and residents to avoid in-person meals for the next two weeks.
“To be very clear, it is not about orders, mandates or requirements,” said Whitmer at a press conference on Friday. “A year later we all know what works and it has to be a team effort. We have to do this together. Life depends on it.”
Covid-19 infections have spiked across the state in recent weeks, approaching the state’s November pandemic high of 7,226 new cases a day averaging over the past week – a 23% increase from the previous week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The state health department is currently tracking 991 Covid outbreaks across Michigan, said the state’s chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, at the press conference.
“Because we see so many cases each day, our public health system is overwhelmed. We cannot get information on many cases, nor identify their close contacts. We don’t know where all cases or outbreaks are, and what we know is likely one Counting, “said Khaldun.
Whitmer and Khaldun urged all Michiganders to wear masks, maintain social distance, wash their hands, stay home and get vaccinated.
The rise in the coronavirus in Michigan is due to the fact that the highly infectious variant B.1.1.7, identified for the first time in Great Britain, has become the most common Covid strain in the USA
There were 291 outbreaks in the state between January and March that came from youth sports teams alone and that involved at least 1,091 people, Khaldun said.
“The numbers show that young people are not impervious to this virus as we’ve seen many cases in teenagers and young adult Michiganders,” Whitmer said.
State health officials recorded 58 outbreaks in restaurants and retail stores in the past week alone, Khaldun said.
“Just because something is open doesn’t mean it’s safe or that you should,” Khaldun said. “Indoor dining is one of the riskiest things to do in this pandemic.”
Whitmer also called on the federal government to develop a vaccination program to use Covid-19 vaccine doses in trouble spots.
“Today it’s Michigan and the Midwest, tomorrow it could be another part of our country,” said Whitmer.