Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces extension of order closing businesses

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced during a news conference Monday, Dec. 7, 2020 to speak on the state of COVID-19 in Michigan that the previous three-week pause will be extended another 12 days.

Whitmer spoke at 2:30 p.m. and was joined by the state's medical director Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon. You can watch live in the video player below or at fox2detroit.com/live

The restrictions, which came from the MDHHS, went into effect on Nov. 18 and are set to expire this week on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The last time Gordon joined her at a news conference is when the "three-week pause" restrictions were announced.

Under the new orders, in-person learning in high schools, indoor service at bars and restaurants, movie theaters, casinos, organized sports, and arcades were all ordered to close.

Meanwhile, Michigan has reported almost 400,000 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic - a benchmark that is likely to be met sometime this week if not later today. November was among the most deadly months since the virus arrived. The test positivity rate around the state is near the highest its ever been. The virus is also being detected throughout the state, forcing hospitals with few resources near capacity for PPE, staffing, and available beds.

Michigan's hospitals and chief medical officers say the state needs an extension on the "three-week pause" measures put in place ago to better mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press conference last week, Gov. Whitmer said it was "sadly possible" that lockdown measures like indoor dining and in-person learning could continue.

Even as experts see a leveling out of new coronavirus cases, the second half of the holiday season is looming over the state. Christmas, just like Thanksgiving has the potential to push the curve of positive tests up again - which could exasperate problems for an already beleaguered health care system.