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Plan to Get ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ unveiled by governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today set the state of Michigan on a pathway to return to normal by unveiling the ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan as the state continues to push toward its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 years or older. To facilitate this goal, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy.

The ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan will use four vaccination-based milestones — using data for Michiganders 16 years or older who’ve received their first dose — to guide future steps required to get back to normal:

• 55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks
• Allows in-person work for all sectors of business.
• 60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks
• Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%.
• Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes to 25%.
• Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%.
• Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.
• 65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks
• Lifts all indoor % capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties.
• Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.
• 70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks
• Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.
• If new cases remain greater than 250 daily/million as a 7-day average in Michigan Economic Recovery Committee (MERC) region at the time of implementing steps 2 through 3, MDHHS may delay implementation in that MERC region.

“The MI Vacc to Normal challenge outlines steps we can take to emerge from this pandemic as we hit our vaccination targets together,” Whitmer said. “On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to rise to the challenge and be a part of the solution so we can continue our economic recovery and have the summer we all crave.”

Since Whitmer asked Michiganders to double down on smart public health policies on April 9, Michigan has made significant progress to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The number of daily cases has dropped from 649.9 cases per million to 439.3 cases per million, the percent of positive tests has declined from 18.3% to 13.2%, and the number hospitalizations has fallen from 3,780 to 3,520.

“We can end this virus on our terms by following the protocols we are putting forward, encouraging everyone in your life to do the same and ensuring that everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. “What we have been observing across our state is that the thing that moves a person to choose to get vaccinated is hearing from someone they know about why it is so important, why they chose to get vaccinated. That means that every person who has not yet chosen to get vaccinated is one conversation away from making that choice. We can make that happen for them and for all of us. The MI Vacc to Normal challenge is a great reminder that we’re all on one team, working towards ending COVID-19.”

Recently, Michigan reached another vaccination milestone in record time -administering more than 6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, with the latest one million doses being administered in 11 days. Also, Michiganders have been getting their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at a rate of 96.4%, above the national average.

“The safe and effective vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS.

“By getting shots in their arms as soon as possible, Michiganders can protect themselves, their families and their communities and help end this pandemic as quickly as possible,” Khaldun added.

The state still has a mask mandate and capacity limitations on indoor dining, indoor gatherings and entertainment venues. As the number of vaccinations increase, experts have said that states can begin loosening some public health policies as these activities become less risky for vaccinated individuals.

“Our state had made great progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 since Governor Whitmer asked for Michiganders to step up on April 9,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director.

“I am proud of the progress that we have made by working together,” Hertel added. “If residents continue to get their vaccines, wear masks and avoid indoor gatherings, we will soon be able to take further steps to loosen our public health requirements and better be able to enjoy the activities that we all love.”

To date, Michigan has administered 6,657,997 vaccines. Currently, 48.8% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with 35.9% percent of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated, moving the state closer to its goal of equitably vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older as soon as possible.

Also today MDHHS announced that the department and Protect Michigan Commission are launching new television spots this week featuring stories from Michiganders on why they chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The new ads are part of the next phase of the “Spread Hope, Not COVID” campaign that MDHHS launched last fall.

The spots open with the question asked to community members featured in the ads: “Why did you get vaccinated?” One woman responded, “Because I’m 24 weeks pregnant and we wanted to protect our baby boy.” Another man shared, “To be able to hug my mom again. I haven’t been able to hug her in over a year.” One woman said that her “why” was her best friend, who passed away from COVID-19 the day before her birthday.

The spots were recorded Friday, April 16, outside the Ford Field vaccination site in Detroit. Additional spots were recorded outside a Detroit Medical Center vaccination location at the Northwest Activity Center in Detroit on Friday, April 23.

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