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State leaders give covid-19 response update

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Many people have questions about how and when the state’s economy will reopen. Wednesday afternoon a few of Michigan’s top leaders addressed those questions during a tele-town hall meeting.

“Nothing beats being able to meet in person, but until and unless we can do that these calls give me an opportunity to update you on what’s happening on the federal level,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin.

Slotkin hosted Wednesday’s meeting and says she now negotiating the fifth stimulus package.

“I do call them survival bills because they are bills intended to help bridge our families, our small businesses from one side of the coronavirus pandemic to the other,” said Slotkin.

Joining her on the call was Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. He talked about the three pillars that make up the next phase of the coronavirus response on the state level. One step is to increase testing capacity.

“That’s really important because in order for us to understand where the virus is present and how it has spread and project how it may spread we have to have adequate testing,” Gilchrist said.

The second step is to have contact tracing for the virus, which includes technology and training.

Gilchrist said the third piece is related to isolation for those with the virus, “Because our people are our economy and their confidence is essential frankly to ensuring that there will be an economy to patronize.”

Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Legislative Affairs Director Stephanie Glidden was also a part of the meeting. She said the unemployment claims in the state are historically high.

“We’re at around 1.3 million initial unemployment claims filed that’s about a quarter of the state’s workforce,” said Glidden. “I know that some have waited a long time and I know how frustrating that can be, it’s what keeps myself and my staff up at night every single night working hard to get this done.”

Glidden said everyone who is eligible will get their benefits.

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