Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared of a state of disaster for Michigan as well as extended the state of emergency, she announced on Wednesday.
“Since Michigan announced our first confirmed cases of COVID-19 three weeks ago, we have taken some of the most aggressive measures in the country to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect Michigan families,” said Whitmer in a statement. “Today’s action will allow my administration to respond more effectively to every facet of this crisis. During this time, it’s crucial that Michiganders continue to stay home and keep their distance from others. We will get through this together.”
Whitmer originally declared a state of emergency on March 10.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services originally confirmed the first coronavirus cases in the state on March 10. Michigan reported its first death from the virus a little more than a week later on March 18.
As of Thursday afternoon, the number of coronavirus cases has grown to more than 10,700 confirmed cases and 417 deaths, according to data from the MDHHS. Particularly hard-hit areas include Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, as well as the City of Detroit.
“The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan is still climbing, and we must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun in a statement. “The governor has taken a number of critical steps to protect Michigan families, and this order today will allow that work to continue. I will keep working closely with the governor and our partners across state government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
Whitmer also sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield asking for a concurrent resolution extending the state of emergency by 70 days.
Although both leaders agree with the need for an extended state of emergency, they also said they feel that 70 days is too long.
“We agree that emergency circumstances persist in our state and are prepared to support an extension of the Governor’s Emergency Declaration, but feel a 70-day extension is too long,” Shirkey told News 10.
Whitmer’s office said that individual emergency orders, such as the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, expire according to the time originally cited in each order, unless otherwise continued.
Read Whitmer’s letter to Shirkey and Chatfield here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]