LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Whitmer said curve is bending, warns lifting Stay Home order too soon could be disastrous and deadly
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a press conference on Monday that the number of cases is starting to plateau but cautions against reopening the state as it could be disastrous and set Michigan up for a resurgence in cases.
Speaking from her office in Lansing on Monday, Whitmer addressed the renewal of her Stay Home, Stay Safe order which went into place last week, while also addressing misinformation about what her order means to Michigan.
Whitmer signed the extension on her Stay Home, Stay Safe initiative on Thursday, asking residents to avoid all nonessential travel and to not visit other residences until the end of April, an increase of state restrictions on the previous order.
"Right now my immediate concern is trying to keep everyone in Michigan safe," Whitmer said.
She also addressed some misinformation that was being passed around online, including rumors that you couldn't buy a carseat for your child.
"Nothing from this stay at home prohibits people from buying car seats for their children. There's no prohbition on that. You can buy bug spray, you can buy American flags. I have not banned homeschooling. These are a few of the falsehoods that are being disseminated on social media that I wanted to clear up," she said.
As of Monday, there are 25,635 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan and 1,602 deaths. However, as Gov. Whitmer and the Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun pointed out, it seems to be slowing.
"We are starting to see early signs of a plateau in the rate of growth in COVID-19 cases in the state of Michigan and particularly in Southeast Michigan," Dr. Khaldun said.
While the realm of uncertainty remains highs, the number of daily cases reported in Michigan continues to decline since the state confirmed its highest daily total April 3. On Monday, the state reported 997 new cases and 115 deaths
The bend of the curve coincides with expanding COVID-19 testing sites including 13 new drive-thru locations across the state.
"This will increase our testing capacity by 40 percent when it is fully operational," Dr. Khaldun said.
Gov. Whitmer said she's working on a plan to re-open the state but says it must all be done in phases. Opening up the state all at once could cause another wave of COVID-19.
"Not one of us wants to go through this again, not in a month, not in the fall. We want to avoid that at all costs and I want you to have your freedom. I want to have mine too. We will get to a place where we can be with our friends and family again. It's okay to be frustrated. It's okay to be angry. If it makes you (feel) better to direct at me, that's okay too. I've got thick skin. And I'm always going to defend your right to free speech," she said. "I just ask those who are protesting these orders do so in a safe manner so that you don't get sick and you don't subject our first responders either. This is a tough enough situation, let's not make it harder on one and other."
Michigan, especially Detroit and surrounding communities, has been one of the hardest-hit states. Since the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the state on March 10, thousands more have become infected and hundreds have died.
Schools have been closed now for the remainder of the year and Gov. Whitmer's statewide stay-at-home order has been extended through the end of April. Not everyone is pleased with the extension as some Republican leaders and building contractors argue Whitmer's order is needlessly hurting business. Prior to her order, there was consternation reported between the governor and members of the GOP in the state legislature who disagreed on how long the original state of emergency should be extended.
The State House and Senate ultimately approved a 23-day extension on the declaration would take residents until the end of the month.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.
To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.
Are you showing symptoms? Try Beaumont's virtual screening tool
And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.