Whitmer calls for two-week pause of youth sports, indoor dining, social gatherings


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Friday Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and State Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun held a news conference, to provide an update on the state fight against COVID-19.

During that news conference, Whitmer urged a two-week suspension of in-person high school classes, all youth sports and indoor restaurant dining to address a surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

The governor reiterated that her words were not an order, and what she felt would be best for the state.

Whitmer says high schools should shift to virtual learning, both school and non-school youth sports should be paused, people should choose outdoor dining or takeout instead of indoor seating, and they should avoid gathering with friends indoors.

The governor also announced Michigan will hit more than five million vaccinations by the end of the day. 

“Administering more than five million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccine in under four months is a big deal, but we’ve still got a lot more work to do,” said Governor Whitmer. “Right now our numbers are alarming, and we all have a role to play to get our state moving in the right direction again. That’s why I’m renewing my call on the federal government to surge additional vaccines to our state. And it’s why I’m urging high schools and youth sports to voluntarily suspend in-person activities for the next two weeks. This is a team effort. It’s on all of us to do our part by masking up and getting vaccinated to protect ourselves and our families, so we can get back to normal. Let’s get it done.” 

This is the governor’s first news conference in several weeks, and comes as Michigan’s surge in Coronavirus cases has become the largest in the country.

Earlier this week, Dr. Sarah Lyon-Callo, director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Population Health at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported Michigan now has the poorest coronavirus metrics in the nation, ranking no. 1 among states for number of cases, case rate, hospitalizations and ICU utilization.

The state’s case rate has been on the rise for six weeks and has increased 375% since the Feb. 19 low. The rate jumped about 50% in the last week alone. The seven-day average of the test positivity rate is 16.5%, more than five times the 3% threshold that public health officials look for to show the spread of the virus is controlled.

People age 20-39 are seeing the highest rates, though the 10-19 age range is also seeing an all-time high. The rates are lower among those older than 70, who are more likely to be vaccinated.

Thursday Michigan reported 7,819 more confirmed coronavirus cases and 73 related deaths as the state’s third surge continues.

Of the deaths announced Thursday, 43 were discovered during a review of death certificates to count any that had not already been reported to the state. These checks are conducted three times per week.

In all, Michigan has now had 723,297 confirmed cases of the virus since it was first detected here in March 2020 and 16,400 related deaths.

Despite her lack of televised news conference, the governor did answer 6 News questions about the surge on Wednesday this week, while touring a bridge in the Lansing area. You can hear what she had to say in the video below.

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