Gov. Whitmer extends pandemic order 12 days

MICHIGAN — During a 2:30 p.m. Monday address, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended its pandemic order “Pause to Save Lives” for 12 more days in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

The original order was set to end Wednesday. The extension will pick up on Dec. 9 and continue the order to 11:59 p.m. Dec. 20.

The original “pause” put activities such as social gatherings and sports on pause.
According to the MDHHS, high schoolers, colleges and universities will continue with remote learning.

Bars and restaurants must keep their dining rooms closed, and utilize outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery.

Group exercise classes are included in the “pause,” with the order allowing for independent exercise done within gyms.

Casinos, bingo halls, movie theaters, live theaters, stadiums, arcades, bowling centers, trampoline parks and indoor water parks will remain closed during this period.

“A month ago, we were worried and warned, that on the trajectory we were on that we could see 100 deaths a day by Christmas,” Whitmer said. “Here we are a few weeks before Christmas and we are already, sadly, above that mark. That means our progress is fragile. We cannot let up yet.”

Whitmer said this Thursday would mark the end of the 14-day period after Thanksgiving, and she expected the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings would likely be reflected in the state’s COVID-19 data at that point.

“Right now, 79 percent of all hospitals beds are occupied,” Whitmer said. “The hospital capacity issue we are dealing with right now is different than in the spring.”
Whitmer said in the spring, patients and medical staff could be shifted around to areas with lower concentrations of COVID-19 cases. This is not possible in Michigan, currently, according to Whitmer.

“We are still in the midst of our second surge of COVID-19 in Michigan,” said Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director of Health and Human Services at the press conference.

She also indicated the current COVID-19 test percent positivity rate is 14.1 percent.

“That is more than four times where we were at the beginning of September,” Khaldun said. “Percent positivity has been declining, but in the last week it increased.”

After the 12-day extension, Whitmer said the MDHHS would not lift all of the preventative measures at once.

“We will do it in a measured way so we don’t undo the progress that we have made,” Whitmer said.

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