Whitmer extends emergency declaration in Michigan through Aug. 11

Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended her state of emergency declaration in Michigan through Aug. 11, saying COVID-19 is “still a very real threat in our state.”

An announcement from the governor’s office on Tuesday said every region in Michigan saw an uptick in new COVID-19 cases over the past three weeksas other states have experienced spikes in infections.

“Throughout this crisis, the vast majority of Michiganders have done their part, but we must remain vigilant and continue to do everything we can to protect our loved ones,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That means wearing a mask over your mouth and nose and practicing safe physical distancing when going out in public. 

“If we all do our part now, there is a greater chance that schools can resume in-person learning in the fall. Be smart, be safe and mask up.” 

In June, Whitmer last extended the emergency declaration through Thursday. The emergency declaration is what gives the governor the ability to take unilateral actions to try to combat COVID-19,like requiring masks, closing businesses or issuing safety standards for hospitals and schools.

Michigan confirmed its first cases of the virus on March 10.On that same day, Whitmer issued her first emergency declaration because of COVID-19. Aug. 11 is 154 days after that first declaration.

As of Tuesday, the state has reported 70,306 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,081 deaths linked to the virus, which peaked here in April. But last week brought a seven-week high in new cases with 3,415 reported. The last time Michigan reported more than 3,000 new cases in a week was May 17-23.

“COVID-19 still poses a threat to families across Michigan, and it’s crucial that Governor Whitmer continue to take swift action to save lives,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive.

The extension through Aug. 11 comes as a legal fight continues in the Court of Appeals over Whitmer’s ability to declare emergencies without input from the Republican-controlled Legislature.

A ballot proposal committee called Unlock Michigan is also circulating petitions to try to repeal one of the two state laws that allow the governor to declare  emergencies.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

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