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Whitmer: State of emergency will likely remain in place, even as COVID cases seem to plateau

governor gretchen whitmer standing at a podium

Though coronavirus cases in the state appear to be plateauing, Michigan is still under a state of emergency.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says as cases continue to decline in the state, businesses may be allowed to reopen based on the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

But the state of emergency will likely remain in place.

“If our numbers got low enough then perhaps, we could think about lifting that but as I said all these protections. All of those rely on us remaining in the state of emergency and that’s an important part of the consideration,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer has been heavily criticized by Republicans in the state Legislature for continuing the state of emergency.

At a press conference Wednesday, she asked residents not to sign a petition that would strip the Governor’s office of its emergency powers.

The group called Unlock Michigan is trying to repeal a 1945 law that gives the Governor emergency powers.

The petition was started by people unhappy with Whitmer’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in Michigan. She calls the groups’ methods unscrupulous.

“So, I ask people to decline to sign if you see that out there because we know these actions have saved us. The vast majority of people in this state get it and support this.”

Whitmer says she’ll fight to retain the emergency powers for her successor, and any future Governor’s of Michigan.

She also announced $65 million dollars in CARES Act funding for schools that have been impacted by COVID-19.

The state’s chief medical executive is asking residents to comply with people trying to trace the spread of COVID-19 in the state. At the press conference, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun noted nearly 20,000 Michiganders tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 20 days. Contact tracers speak directly with people who test positive, but the state is having trouble reaching their contacts.

“But we’re still only successful in reaching contacts about 60% of the time. So again, everyone has an important role to play here. Do your part and please tell us where you’ve been and who your close contacts are,” Khaldun said.

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Abigail Censky is the Politics & Government reporter at WKAR. She started in December 2018.
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