LANSING, Mich. - A recent smattering of coronavirus exposure at crowded Michigan bars has given state officials pause on further reopening the state. With more than 100 COVID-19 cases now linked to an East Lansing bar and now three people saying they visited a Royal Oak bar who have also tested positive for the virus, the state is facing its first resurgence since it flattened the curve.
Against that backdrop, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to unveil a few updates Tuesday during a 3 p.m. press conference. FOX 2 will stream the governor on Facebook and the website.
In addition to laying out the state's course of action for July 4 and beyond, Whitmer's Return to Learn Advisory Council will be releasing the state guidelines for the schools ahead of the fall semester.
Prior to Monday night, Michigan's public school districts had little idea of what kind of financial hole they would find themselves amid a budgetary shortfall the state hasn't seen in years. With property and sales tax revenue in freefall due to statewide shutdowns of business and travel, Michigan is now in a multi-billion dollar budgetary deficit.
Last night, the governor and the Republican-led legislature announced they had come to an agreement on the 2020 budget. It features an array of spending cuts, almost a billion in federal relief, and $350 million from the Rainy Day Fund.
Those spending cuts initially hit education, which then had its losses offset by the federal stimulus money. The school aid fund is the second-biggest expenditure the state spends its money on.
Last week, Republicans on education committees released a bicameral plan for schools in the fall. It includes an $800-per-student payment for K-12 schools, $500 in hazard pay for teachers, and $80 million for Intermediate School Districts implementing distance learning plans.
Prior to the GOP's plan, Whitmer said districts could resume in-person learning, one of the pillars of stage 4 of her MI Safe Start plan.
Whitmer has alluded to taking the state to stage 5 by the July 4 holiday. But FOX 2's Tim Skubick warned that plan may be in jeopardy after Michigan noted an uptick in new cases over the last week. Even with an expected weekend lull in new positive COVID-19 tests, new coronavirus cases are still up compared to the beginning of June.
With a lift of the stay home order and a growing number of new industries reopening, an increase in new cases isn't unexpected. In states like Florida and Texas, which have been reopened for weeks longer than Michigan, health officials are reporting daily highs in new cases.
Michigan isn't quite there, however.
"We're in a much better position to track," Whitmer told FOX 2 on Monday. "People understand how serious the disease is so people are being smarter as well. Not that they weren't smart before but we know a lot more about this virus. It's still a novel virus and you think about the incredible amount of knowledge that we have about COVID-19 just in the last two months and how much more we could have two months from now."
Two months is a long time from now in the age of COVID. Health officials in Michigan have operated in two-week windows as that's how long it normally takes symptoms to show up.