Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

Michigan now has the resources for every sick Michigander to seek testing for the coronavirus, and the stay-at-home order from Gov. Whitmer is working. What happens next?

LANSING, MI — The biggest news in Wednesday’s update on the novel coronavirus pandemic is a change in who should be tested for infection. Whereas for most of the crisis tests have been too limited for anyone but the most likely cases to get tested, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer encouraged every Michigander with symptoms or engaged in essential work to get tested.

The state has launched a website to help facilitate finding a testing site.

“The data that we’ve seen in the past week has led me to believe that it’s time to reevaluate the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order,” said Whitmer. “I want to be clear. we will likely need another short-term extension of the stay home, stay safe order.”

Whitmer has announced that she is working on a plan to phase in sectors of the economy, but that a temporary extension of the stay-at-home order that has Michigan Republicans bristling will likely be necessary. The state presented data showing the dramatic effect the order has had on slowing the spread of the disease.

“As hard as this is right now, a second wave would be devastating,” Whitmer said. 

RELATED: Whitmer’s Stay-at-Home Order Is Popular and Working. Republicans Want to End It.

Whitmer said the re-engagement would need to happen in waves, because even in a stable moment those most vulnerable will likely need to stay home. As for specifics about what shape these waves will take and how long they will last, Whitmer said that will be explained in more detail Friday.

Across Michigan, 999 new cases were confirmed and 113 new deaths occured, state data reports. This brings the overall total to 33,966 cases and 2,813. These numbers are fairly consistent with the numbers from Tuesday, where day-over-day new cases were 967 and day-over-day new deaths were 137.

The press conference also stressed the uncertainty going forward. Potential second peaks after the lift of social distancing measures could range from manageable to far worse than April has been, though noted that the worst-case scenarios would only occur if a second wave of the virus spread but the government did not restore any social distancing enforcement. 

This was corroborated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which warned that a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than what we’ve seen so far, reported USA Today

As such, argued Dr. Marisa Eisenberg from the University of Michigan Department of Epidemiology, staged re-engagement and careful monitoring are essential to returning to normalcy with minimal risk.

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Following taking a pay cut herself earlier this week, Whitmer announced temporary layoffs of state employees. She mentioned lobbying the federal government to take the extreme pressure on state budgets into account in their next round of pandemic support, but in the meantime difficult choices needed to be made to adapt to the situation. 

“I’ve made a lot of hard choices in the past six weeks and this was one of the hardest,” Whitmer said. “This is the right thing to do to ensure that we can continue to provide critical services to the people of Michigan.”

Southwest Michigan remains one of the fastest-growing areas in terms of new daily cases.

Total cases in the United States have surpassed 816,000 and the death toll passed 41,000, the New York Times reports. And as states start to get the current crisis under control, health officials are warning Americans to prepare for another pandemic at the end of the year.

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“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield told The Washington Post. “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”

The fall and winter resurgence of the virus is something public health officials have warned about for some time as hospitals across the nation struggle through this spring pandemic. 

A number of states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas have begun easing restrictions in moves applauded by President Trump. Trump has been focused on the reignition of state economies as quickly as possible calling on states not acting as fast as he would like to be “liberated” in weekend tweets.