Whitmer freezes hiring, adds $150M to budget to fight COVID-19

Coronavirus
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she suspended state hiring and promotions Monday and vetoed $80 million in new spending in order to steer money to fighting the coronavirus.

At the same time, Whitmer said she signed laws with $150 million for the state’s response.

She said it’s too early to know how the economic slowdown related to the virus will affect state revenue but the impact “is going to be real.”

“The world has changed since those negotiations and we must react and change along with it,” the governor said in reference to the veto and leaders in the Legislature.

Michigan had nearly 5,500 cases of the coronavirus by Sunday and 132 deaths. Detroit residents make up about 30% of cases.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness.

“We are still in the early stages of spread in Michigan and cases have not yet peaked,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s medical executive.

She said TCF Center in downtown Detroit will be used for COVID-19 patients who aren’t critically ill.

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