Michigan's fight against COVID-19 has only just started: 'Cases have not yet peaked'

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at Monday's press conference. Image: Gov. Whitmer's Office

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke to the state on Monday to give an update on Michigan's efforts to combat the coronavirus spread in Michigan.

Speaking around 10:15, Whitmer was joined by State Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. Whitmer announced a $150 million increase in funding for state's fight against COVID-19, an expansion of unemployment, the state's attempt to flatten the curve, and announced a new volunteer initiative by the state.

Recording the state's largest single-day total of new coronavirus cases in Michigan on Sunday, the COVID-19 situation is proving to be a dynamic one. As cases spike and more counties confirm their first case or death linked to the outbreak, state health officials have adapted policies to meet the necessary restrictions to slow the spread.

"When you see those numbers rise don't think your participation hasn't made an impact because it is and it will," Gov Whitmer said.

Dr. Khaldun said the state is in dire need of more supplies.

"We're going to need an additional 5,000 to 10,000 ventilators, and the supplies to intubate people," said Dr. Khaldun. "We have one estimate that for every inpatient that has COVID-19, we'll need 10 N95 masks, just that day for one patient."

Whitmer has signed an array of executive orders aimed at restricting the number of public places where transmission can happen, as well as providing financial and medical support to residents impacted by coronavirus.

Whitmer also affirmed that residents need to continue to keep their distance from people outside of their homes to prevent the spread of the virus.

"The system's overwhelmed to be sure. But the system's been up and running where other states have gone down so while it is cumbersome, we're asking people to be patient, we are working incredibly hard to meet the need," said Whitmer.

RELATED: Whitmer orders Michigan-wide shelter-in-place order, starts at midnight

Dr. Khaldun said the state is still in the early stages of fighting the virus.

"We are still in the early stages of spread in Michigan and cases have not yet peaked. We, like other states in the country, are working hard to develop the best predictive models that will tell us how this disease will spread in our state. Current models suggest we are likely several weeks away from a peak in the number of cases here in Michigan," Dr. Khaldun said.

A week ago, Whitmer mandated that all nonessential businesses close and people shelter-in-place. While it will be a couple of weeks before officials can assess what sort of impact that executive order will have on the spread of coronavirus, it came not a moment too soon.

"The most important thing we can do now is heed Gov. Whitmer's executive order to stay home and stay safe," Khaldun

With more than 5,500 cases confirmed in Michigan as of Sunday, hospitals are struggling to keep up with providing enough ventilators to patients struggling to breathe and face masks and shields to protect nurses and doctors.

Since the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Michigan on March 10, Gov. Whitmer has declared a state emergency, closed all schools, prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people, restricted visits to hospitals and other facilities, closed public spaces such as theaters, bars, gyms and casinos, and limited restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders.  

Most recently, she's also issued a stay-home order. You can get details on what that means here

That was all in efforts to social distance and slow the spread of the virus. You can learn more about social distancing and flattening the curve in the video player above. 

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. 

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.


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You can also get the latest coronavirus news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com