Governor Whitmer Provides Updates as COVID-19 Cases Increase
LANSING - This afternoon Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun held a live press conference to provide an update on Michigan's response to COVID-19.
As of this morning, there were 549 confirmed cases and 3 deaths. A main concern of the public has been the availability of testing and the length it takes to get results back.
Speaking on this issue Dr. Khaldun said, "We continue to expand our lab testing capacity. Our state lab has tripled its ability in the past week to test, and we can now do up to 300 samples in one day." Khaldun also stated that there were several hospital labs in Michigan able to test, one of them being Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. Though Khaldun assured that health officials are working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19, she said, "At this point, our testing data will not be able to give us the full picture of the spread of COVID-19 through Michigan," and called on the community to take public health measures in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A topic Michiganders have been wondering about recently is whether Michigan will follow other states in shutting down. Whitmer was asked if Michigan is at that point, to which she replied, "We are not there," but said that she and other state officials are monitoring what other states are doing and how it's working.
Whitmer also addressed rumors that she was calling for martial law in Michigan. She talked about how she wrote a letter to President Trump requesting the use of the National Guard in order to help distribute food and supplies in Michigan, "I am not calling for martial law. That is a rumor and it is false. It's dangerous for people to foment fear and put out bad information."
While no shutdown has been announced yet, Whitmer did sign Executive Order 2020-19, temporarily suspending evictions in Michigan during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order goes into effect immediately and lasts until Friday, April 17 at 11:59pm.
In a press release tweeted during her briefing, she stated that, "Families across the state are facing a number of uncertainties, from concerns about their health and well-being and that of their loved ones to when their next paycheck will arrive. Worrying about whether they’ll be evicted from their home, apartment or mobile home should not be on this list,” Governor Whitmer said. “This executive order will ease a burden on families struggling to make ends meet and allow them to focus on what’s most important — staying safe and healthy.”
The full press conference can be found on the Twitter and Facebook pages for Michigan State Police. An MP3 audio file is also available for download at MichMab.com.