MDHHS extends pause in light of numbers, hospitals request
At a news conference today (Monday Dec. 7) Governor Whitmer announced that The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will be extending the 3 week pause for 12 more days citing, among other reasons, a request from hospitals to continue with the measures put into place 3 weeks ago.
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association representing all of the state’s community hospitals released a statement that read in part, “To see meaningful change that truly alleviates stress on the healthcare system, we urge the state to extend protections through the holiday season.”
The Governor also referenced the high positivity rate in testing and the increase in deaths attributed to the virus.
“We’ve made progress but that progress is fragile and we can’t let up yet.”
According to MDHHS the additional 12 days will allow the department to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan.
Taking questions from the media the Governor acknowledged the strain on small businesses and encouraged the state legislature and Congress to pass relief measures for business and workers who have been impacted by the economic fallout from the virus.
She was also asked if 12 days was going to be enough.
After stating that any changes would be made methodically and not all at once she acknowledged that she is discouraging people from gathering during the upcoming holidays.
“To have future holidays together this year needs to be smart. Celebrate apart and find other ways to be together. I know this is hard to do but it is essential.
“We’re in for a tough couple of months.”
The order will keep existing measures in place through Dec. 20 and does not include a blanket stay-home action. Employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, including those in manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines.
Bars and restaurants must remain closed for dine-in service, but can remain open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery. Gyms are open for individual exercise with mandatory masking and additional strict safety measures. Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes remain closed. Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators. Colleges, universities and high schools will continue with remote learning, with no in-person classes.