Gov. Whitmer plans to extend stay-at-home order as coronavirus continues to rapidly spread

Apr 6, 2020 at 12:19 pm
click to enlarge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a press conference Monday. - State of Michigan
State of Michigan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a press conference Monday.

As the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday she expects to extend her stay-at-home beyond the initial April 14 expiration date.

Whitmer said hospitals are overwhelmed, and there’s no sign that the rate of infections is slowing down.

“We know that the most effective tool that we have as our hospitals are overwhelmed … is to slow the spread of the virus, and that is why we did the stay-at-home as early as we did,” Whitmer said at a press conference. “We are not close to the apex yet. Until we are, I think it’s absolutely essential that we continue being aggressive. I would anticipate another order in about a week.”

Whitmer’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 24 and required non-essential businesses to close and directed residents to stay at home, except to exercise or get essential supplies like food. Since then, Michigan’s coronavirus-related deaths rose from 24 to 617 on Sunday.

“The next several weeks are going to be very challenging,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer, said Monday.

More than 3,600 residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 1,383 of them are on ventilators. Nearly 90% of the hospitalizations are in southeast Michigan, Khaldun said.

“We are not out of the woods yet. Our hospitals continue to be overwhelmed, particularly in southeast Michigan,” Khaldun said. “We are working incredibly hard to make sure hospitals get the support they need — equipment, ventilators, masks, gowns, and medications.”

Michigan has the third most deaths in the U.S., behind New York and New Jersey. The state also ranks third with more than 15,000 positive cases.

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