Michigan Gov. Whitmer extends state of emergency declaration for COVID-19 to Sept. 4

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday she is extending the emergency and disaster declaration until September 4, 2020. 

The state of emergency had been set to expire on August 11, 2020.  The extension comes amid a plateau of new cases, with steady hospitalization rates and low death rates.

The state of emergency, first declared more than five months ago, is the underpinning for a slew of orders. They include a pause on residential evictions, caps on crowd sizes, requirements to wear masks and socially distance, delayed tax deadlines and new workplace infection-control rules.

Gov. Whitmer has said nearly every state in the country is maintaining a state of emergency to cope with COVID-19. 

In the past few weeks, Gov. Whitmer has tightened restrictions in hopes of bringing back down the spread the virus.

The big discussion now is what will happen with schools once they open in a few weeks. Gov. Whitmer said in her press release that states that have reopened schools have already begun to see new cases - a second-grader in Cherokee County, Georgia, a middle schooler in Greenfield, Indiana, and a high schooler in Corinth, Mississippi, have already tested positive for COVID-19 having attended school in person, triggering quarantines in those districts. You can see what Michigan districts have announced their plans so far here

On Thursday, she also signed a new executive order that requires face coverings to be worn in all child-care centers and camps. 

As of Wednesday, August 5, the percent positive for cases in Michigan stands at 3.4%. Officials have said a 3% positive rate is the cut-off that's been determined to show that community spread isn't happening. When testing increases as well as the percent positive rate, that indicates that community spread is occurring. 

Overall, new cases have plateaued and continued to vary by region. 

The Detroit, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo regions have just over 40 cases per million people per day and have seen a steady decrease over the last 2-3 weeks. 

The Jackson region and Upper Peninsula both have 35 cases per million people per day and have also seen decreases over the past 1-2 weeks. 

The Saginaw region is just under 30 cases per million people per day and has seen a decrease over the past week. 

The Lansing region also has just under 30 cases per million people per day but has seen a 2-week increase in the rate of cases. 

The Traverse City region is the only region in Michigan with under 10 cases per million people per day and has also seen a decrease over the past 3 weeks.