Whitmer again extends state of emergency for pandemic

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday extended Michigan’s state of emergency for the coronavirus the day before it was scheduled to run out.

The extension, which was expected, continues the state of emergency through Oct. 27. Whitmer, a Democrat, is facing a legal challenge from the Republicans in charge of the Legislature for her unilateral orders on the emergency, but so far two courts have sided with her. The Michigan Supreme Court will be next to make a ruling.

“We have saved thousands of lives in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among our most vulnerable populations – people of color, seniors, and people with disabilities. Because we took swift action, the health of our families and our economy are faring better than our neighbors in other states,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This emergency will end, and it is a matter of months. But we are not out of the woods yet. Right now, the federal government and all 50 states have been under some form of state of emergency. We must continue doing our part to fight this virus on behalf of our families, frontline workers, and our small businesses.”

Whitmer also extended a few more of her executive orders, including one that lets more business be done remotely; one that limits visits at health care facilities, nursing homes and juvenile facilities; one that requires more cleaning and testing protocols in state prisons; and one that requires safety guidelines at restaurants.


State health officials announced Tuesday that Michigan has recorded 20 more deaths linked to coronavirus and on Monday confirmed 898 more cases of the virus.

Of the 20 deaths, four were discovered when public health officials reviewed death certificates to find any that had not been reported to the state. Those checks have been run routinely each week for months.

In all, Michigan has now seen 6,751 deaths linked to the coronavirus and 123,633 confirmed cases since the virus was first detected in Michigan in March.

Labs in Michigan on Monday tested 23,796 samples for the virus and 845 came back positive, a rate of 3.55%. The number of positive tests is not the same as the number of new cases because people may be tested more than once.

Kent County added one more death, bringing its total to 173, and confirmed 72 more cases for a total of 9,253 cases since the start of the state’s outbreak. Ottawa County confirmed 23 more cases for a total of 3,327. The number of deaths stood at 61.

Calhoun and Muskegon counties also each recorded one more death for totals of 45 and 70, respectively. Calhoun County has had 1,281 cases and Muskegon County 1,482 cases.

Wayne County, where the virus has been the worst, added 108 cases for a total of 32,840 since the start of the outbreak and four deaths for a total of 2,815. Oakland County has had 16,662 cases (64 more than the previous day) and 1,154 deaths (two more). Macomb County has had 14,155 cases (72 more) and 975 deaths (two more).

Overall, Michigan’s new cases have remained largely flat weeks — though the Upper Peninsula is seeing a large increase in that rate — and the seven-day average of daily positive tests has been down lately. Hospitalization numbers remain low, though they have jumped by more than 100 in the last week. The numbers of deaths each day are also low.

Health officials say anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to someone who has it should get tested. There are two testing events in West Michigan Tuesday facilitated by the Michigan National Guard.

You can also go to Michigan.gov/coronavirustest to find a testing site near you.

On Tuesday, Jackson-based Consumers Energy said it was devoting $12 million to helping customers cover their bills during the financial hardship of the pandemic. The goal is to divvy up the money among 25,000 households and 1,000 small businesses. Some of it will be funneled through nonprofits. People in need of help can call Consumers Energy at 800.477.5050 or call 211 to get connected with community resources.