Citing recent daily increases in new COVID-19 cases, including more than 100 tied to an East Lansing bar, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today urged people to “keep up our guard,” wear a face mask in public and avoid crowded areas.
Whitmer said some areas of the state are seeing spikes in COVID-19 after weeks of an easing of new cases. She specifically cited how the Lansing area has become a high-risk region and is “heating up,” and that statewide “our numbers are not as strong as they were a couple of weeks ago.”
Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub in East Lansing has been linked to more than 100 COVID-19 cases involving people who were there between June 12-20. In Grand Rapids, the Kent County Health Department ordered Social House Tavern to close after video surfaced last weekend of large crowds not adhering to social distancing and other measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, as MiBiz previously reported.
Cases are now spiking particularly among 20-29 year olds, Whitmer said.
“Over the past week, we have seen some examples of what can happen when we drop our guard, when Michiganders don’t wear a mask, or don’t practice social distancing,” Whitmer said Tuesday as she announced a plan for reopening K-12 schools in the state this fall.
“This is not unique for this establishment. It’s not unique to East Lansing, it’s not unique to Michigan. This is happening across the country, but we have to learn from this,” she said. “We can and we must get this under control now.”
Whitmer did not announce any changes or a return of restrictions, but said her earlier hopes of moving into the fifth phase of a reopening plan by July 4 is “off the table right now.” She expected “more clarity” on that question within the next two days.
“We are constantly looking at the data,” Whitmer said. “I’ll be making some decisions in the next day or two as we go into the holiday weekend.”
The recent spike in cases and “preventable spread” of COVID-19 comes after “three months of hard work and real sacrifice to bend the curve and protect families from this virus,” Whitmer said.
“We’ve got to be smart, we’ve got to keep our wits about us, and we have got to continue to do what we know that prevents the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “COVID-19 is still very present in the state of Michigan. The virus has not changed. What has changed is our knowledge and our ability to make decisions that prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it’s on every single one of us to do our part to protect one another, to protect the gains we have made as a state, and to strengthen our ability to get our economy back on track.”
As of Tuesday, Michigan had 63,870 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 373 from the day before, and 5,947 deaths, an increase of 32 deaths from Monday.