LANSING — In an another indication this month that Lansing grows concerned over the rates and spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, Governor Whitmer announced on Wednesday she will be extending both the state of emergency and the state of disaster.
“Over the past three weeks … our progress in suppressing the pandemic has stalled,” reads Whatmer’s latest executive order. “Every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo regions.”
Whitmer partially won court battles around previous related executive orders that utilized independent gubernatorial authorities and effectively gave her an expanded field of authority. Now Whitmer has decided she needs to hang on to that authority a bit longer.
“COVID-19 still poses a threat to families across Michigan and it’s crucial that Governor Whitmer continue to take swift action to save lives,” Michigan’s health chief Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said on Wednesday. “Michiganders should all continue to do their part by wearing a mask and practicing safe physical distancing. We will get through this when we work together.”
Percentage of positive cases went from 2.8 to 3.4 percent over the past week alone. The executive order is yet another indication that Lansing is not ready to move forward with next stage, or phase, of reopening just yet and that the state may even face the risk of a second wave.
“Life will not be back to normal for some time to come,” reads Whitmer’s executive order.
Life will not be back to normal for some time to come. — Executive Order 2020-151
COVID-19 cases are growing in 39 states and in some southern states are surging uncontrollably. Florida recorded 15,300 new cases in a single day over at the begging of the week, the highest one-day total for any state so far during the pandemic.
For the most part, this new extension of the state of emergency means more of the same for Michiganders: Gyms will remain closed, restrictions on indoor events, patrons of businesses will have to wear masks and certain bars will remain closed.
Whitmer tacked on another ominous warning on Wednesday. With the state losing billions in revenue, and no guarantee that the federal government will maintain its contribution to the unemployment system, unemployment benefits for Michigan families will not continue indefinitely.
For now, this extension of Whitmer’s COVID-19 response powers consolidates the state’s ongoing efforts to contain the virus, before it create further irreparable harm.
Previous executive orders that enacted a state of emergency and disaster in the state were taken to court in a case that in May saw a partial victory for Whitmer. The case has since been appealed, with oral arguments scheduled for August in the state’s Court of Appeals.