UPDATE: As of 2 p.m. March 24, there were 1,791 COVID-19 cases in Michigan with 34 being in Genesee County. For daily updates, visit https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.
On March 23, following the number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan doubling over the weekend to 1,328 (including 23 Genesee County cases), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a Michigan-wide stay-at-home order to go to into effect midnight March 23 and that she said was expected to last at least three weeks. Whitmer said as of the current time, too many people were still out and about unnecessarily. She said if things continue on the path they were going, over 70 percent of Michigan residents could be infected with COVID-19 with a million of those people having to be hospitalized. There are only about 25,000 acute care beds in Michigan. So, Whitmer said more must be done.
Currently, hospitals not only do not have enough beds, but lack the needed gowns, masks and ventilators for COVID-19 testing and patients, according to Whitmer. Whitmer said if we all do our part and stay home, we have a shot in helping out healthcare system meet its needs.
The state just received its allotment of personal protective equipment from the federal government’s national strategic stockpile. According to Whitmer, the allotment for one hospital was barely enough to cover one shift at that hospital-not even a full day’s worth of shifts-but one shift.
President Donald Trump called Whitmer “Michigan’s failing governor” after Whitmer said the federal government did not take the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) serious enough fast enough.
Whitmer said while she can’t do overnight what the federal government should have done over months in planning, she and her team were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to secure what was needed during this worldwide pandemic.
“So far we’ve secured more than four million gloves, 4,000,095 masks and thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer-thanks to Michigan businesses, Michigan companies, Michigan distilleries and Michiganders who are pitching in.”
Whitmer said this was still not nearly enough.
“Without a comprehensive national strategy, we the states must take action. We are going with a number of other states that have started and I anticipate that many will follow,” Whitmer said.
Ohio, Illinois, California, New Jersey and New York have similar stay-at-home orders, in addition to other states.
Whitmer’s order directs all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.
She said businesses or operations that sustain life would remain open, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, credit unions and gas stations.
There is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19 and Whitmer said the number of cases will still continue going up in the days ahead. She consulted with medical professionals from Michigan and across the country and received their recommendation before issuing the order.
Schools will be closed at least through April 13 to help protect the public health, though Whitmer said this would affect the economy.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said they have tripled the number of COVID-19 tests that can be done, they can now do 1,000 and the number will grow.
The link for Whitmer’s complete stay-at-home order is: https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499_90705-522626–,00.html.