Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

With a May update to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order that protects against the spread of the coronavirus comes updates on testing goals and future waves of economic reignition.

LANSING, MI — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called the changes to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order The ‘Gander reported Friday a preliminary step in reigniting normal daily Michigan life, but it is only the first of many waves in that restoration. 

This change in policy came as overall daily confirmed cases and deaths continue to hold steady. Day-over-day new confirmed cases for Friday were 1,350 and new deaths totaled 108. This tracks with Thursday’s tally.

READ MORE: 5 Ways Michigan’s Stay-at-Home Order Will Be Different in May

Addressing Thursday’s spike in confirmed cases, Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services discouraged looking at one day of test results as being indicative or anything. More important, she noted, is seven-day averages and positivity rates in testing. This is because daily data on confirmed cases reflects what is reported to the state after a test is conducted and not the actual day a person contracts the coronavirus.

The overall totals in Michigan are 36,641 confirmed cases and 3,085 deaths.

Michigan has peaked at over 7,000 tests per day, reported Khaldun. But the target Michigan must strive to meet is 15,000 tests per day. The expanded scope of testing announced Wednesday is part of that effort to double the daily testing rate. 

Khaldun also called the pandemic response “a marathon, not a sprint” because of how long it will take to develop a vaccine and the lack of antiviral treatments presently available.

The latest round of protections to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic have eased in a number of areas, but also tightened requirements to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in confined public spaces. 

Though Whitmer clarified that masks worn in confined public spaces under the revised order should be consumer-grade or homemade. Masks should be non-medical grade, to save critical PPE for frontline workers. 

While people not wearing masks will not be fined, businesses will have the right to refuse service to customers not wearing masks. 

“I know there’s been a lot of discussion about these restrictions. I know that it hasn’t been easy and that they seem inconsistent or confusing,” Whimter said. “But today’s announcement is a step forward.”

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

Whitmer said the state will be working with Michigan’s business community to help develop best practices to further expand re-ignition of the economy in future waves. In particular, she seemed interested in businesses discussing plans to implement best practices in order to reopen. At the moment, manufacturing is not set to re engage, but she is working both with business leaders and epidemiologists to design the safest strategy to expand the restoration of daily life and work. 

She also noted that just because her new order runs through May 15, that doesn’t mean that no further updates could happen until then. She will be regularly re-evaluating the pandemic to determine when to take actions and what actions to take. As evidence, she noted that Friday’s update to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order came a week before the April version of the order was set to expire. But any changes had to come with an amount of risk management. 

“Getting down to zero risk is not possible in this moment,” said Whitmer. “What we don’t want is a second wave. And I know people are feeling very isolated. It’s hard.”

According to the daily update from the state, the county-level breakdown is as follows:

  • Alcona: 4  
  • Allegan: 60 (1 death)
  • Alpena: 60 (2 death)
  • Antrim: 9  
  • Arenac:16 (1 death)  
  • Barry: 29 (1 death)
  • Bay: 107 (2 deaths)
  • Benzie: 4
  • Berrien: 210 (11 deaths)
  • Branch: 46 (2 deaths)
  • Calhoun: 190 (10 deaths)
  • Cass: 25 (2 death)
  • Charlevoix: 13 (1 death)
  • Cheboygan: 15 (1 death)
  • Chippewa: 2
  • Clare: 10 (1 death)
  • Clinton: 106 (9 deaths)
  • Crawford: 46 (3 death)
  • Delta: 12 (2 death)
  • Dickinson: 3 (2 deaths)
  • Eaton: 114 (5 deaths)
  • Emmet: 21 (2 deaths)
  • Genesee: 1434 (151 deaths)
  • Gladwin: 10 (1 death)
  • Gogebic: 4 (1 death)
  • Grand Traverse: 19 (5 deaths)
  • Gratiot: 8 (1 death)
  • Hillsdale: 109 (12 deaths)
  • Houghton: 2
  • Huron: 10
  • Ingham: 391 (9 deaths)
  • Ionia: 37 (2 deaths)
  • Iosco: 29 (4 death)
  • Isabella: 55 (7 deaths)
  • Jackson: 313 (15 deaths)
  • Kalamazoo: 266 (11 deaths)
  • Kalkaska: 17 (2 deaths)
  • Kent: 906 (29 deaths)
  • Lake: 2
  • Lapeer: 163 (23 deaths)
  • Leelanau: 8
  • Lenawee: 80
  • Livingston: 312 (11 deaths)
  • Luce: 1
  • Mackinac: 5
  • Macomb: 5022 (504 deaths)
  • Manistee: 12
  • Marquette: 39 (6 deaths)
  • Mason: 5
  • Mecosta: 14 (1 death)
  • Menominee: 2
  • Midland: 50 (3 death)
  • Missaukee: 14 (1 death)
  • Monroe: 262 (11 deaths)
  • Montcalm: 28 (1 death)
  • Montmorency: 6
  • Muskegon: 204 (13 deaths)
  • Newaygo: 13
  • Oakland: 6804 (585 deaths)
  • Oceana: 4 (1 death)
  • Ogemaw: 8
  • Osceola: 8
  • Oscoda: 4 
  • Otsego: 84 (7 deaths)
  • Ottawa: 167 (8 deaths)
  • Presque Isle: 9
  • Roscommon: 12
  • Saginaw: 534 (40 deaths)
  • Sanilac: 34 (4 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft: 3
  • Shiawassee: 130 (6 deaths)
  • St Clair: 294 (16 deaths) 
  • St Joseph: 27 (1 death)
  • Tuscola: 78 (12 deaths)
  • Van Buren: 34 (2 deaths)
  • Washtenaw: 974 (47 deaths)
  • Wayne: 6934 (613 deaths) (Detroit alone has 8,473 cases and 830 deaths)
  • Wexford: 8 (1 death)
  • Michigan Department of Corrections: 973 (28 deaths)
  • Federal Corrections Institute: 68
  • Unknown: 9 (1 death)
  • Out of State: 14 (1 death)

Total: 36641 cases, 3085 deaths.

Whitmer also said it was odd that Republican legislators were congregating in Lansing to cut power to the governor’s office in emergencies to curtail the ability of Whitmer and future governors to take dramatic, decisive actions in times of crisis. While she was reluctant to engage in the political fight, she did note that the constituents of those legislators were, by and large, following the work-from-home or stay-at-home principles those legislators were not. 

But, she added, so long as they are congregating she would encourage them to also work on issues like addressing the financial issues Michiganders are facing while trying to mitigate future risks from the coronavirus. 

While Whitmer acknowledges that public compliance with the order did factor into the decision to restore access to outdoor activities and gardening supplies, the decision was still driven primarily by risk assessments done by scientific and medical professionals.