Whitmer signs executive order allowing physician assistants, nurses to treat COVID-19 patients

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order expanding the scope of who can treat patients with coronavirus.

Passed Sunday, the order suspends certain practice laws, allowing physician assistances and nurses to treat people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“This executive order temporarily sets aside some existing rules to allow qualified physician assistants, nurses and other health care providers to treat COVID-19 patients and help slow the spread of this virus in every corner of our state,” wrote Gov. Whitmer.

Michigan's outbreak over the last few days has become one of the largest in the country after officials reported more than 800 new cases in the state, raising the total to 5,486. More than 130 residents have also died from the disease since cases were first confirmed on March 10.

RELATED: Michigan nears 5,500 cases with 836 new on Sunday; 21 more deaths

Whitmer has signed an array of executive orders the last few weeks aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus. She's expanded unemployment benefits to workers who may be experiencing unanticipated responsibilities due to coronavirus. She's outlawed price gouging on goods, materials, emergency supplies and consumer food items linked to the COVID-19 state of emergency. She suspended all evictions of tenants unable to pay their rent.

She also waived weight restrictions on vehicles supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.

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.


FOX 2 is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 1 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information. 

You can watch live in your FOX 2 app or on the FOX 2 Facebook page here.

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