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

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a shelter-in-place order for all Michigan residents in response to the COVID-19 on Monday.

The executive order asking people to stay home except for essential services will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Under the order, people will be allowed to leave their homes under very limited circumstances. They also must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is the only tool we have to fight it at the moment and support our health care system to respond is to give them the opportunity to respond," said Whitmer during a press conference. "The disease can't spread person-to-person if we're not out there."

Whitmer's shelter-in-place directive will ask the state's nearly 10 million residents to avoid all nonessential travel and to remain at home and will go at least for the next three weeks.

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“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” Whitmer said. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.” 

The order prohibits businesses from requiring workers to leave their homes unless they are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Workers that are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun announced the state's total number of deaths has climbed to 15 deaths. The state's total number of confirmed cases is now over 1,200.

Additionally, the order prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single home.

People can leave the home to perform limited, necessary activities and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people.

The call comes after the state's total number of coronavirus cases eclipsed 1,000 on Sunday - giving Michigan's total one of the highest in the nation.

Michigan will join California, New York, Louisana, Delaware, Illinois and as recently as Sunday afternoon, Ohio in ordering residents to shelter-in-place. These states have been home to some of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, which has rapidly spread across the country, killing more than 200 people. By March 22, nine people had succumbed to the coronavirus in Michigan.

State governments have been careful to avoid calling the decision a lockdown as to not invoke unnecessary panic among residents. People are still allowed to perform tasks deemed essential to the health and safety of family and pets.

RELATED: Michigan health officials report 249 new cases of coronavirus, state total at 1,035

That includes traveling to grocery stores, pharmacies, health care, utilities, shipping, law enforcement, and other governmental services.

Whitmer initially refused to entertain the idea of a state-mandated order for residents to stay inside during press conferences last week. However, with testing ramping up in Michigan and the number of new coronavirus cases increasing exponentially, the governor alluded to the possibility of a shelter-in-place order during appearances on Sunday on ABC and FOX NEWS. 

The U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising Americans to "avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19." Traveling U.S citizens who are still permitted to leave should make immediate arrangements to return to the U.S. unless they plan to stay there indefinitely. 

Track Michigan coronavirus cases by county with this interactive map
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Social distancing: What to do and what not to do to slow the spread of COVID-19

Are you showing symptoms? Try Beaumont's virtual screening tool

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.  

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this story


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