(CBS DETROIT) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference Wednesday afternoon providing updates on the State’s response to COVID-19.

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Whitmer said Michiganders should start taking action now with the November election in 48 days. She said Michganders should act swiftly and if those who have not requested their ballots, they should request it here. Ballots will begin being mailed on Sept. 24.

“This year, Michigan has emerged as a leader in facilitating safe elections during a pandemic,” she said.

  •  On Tuesday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 757 which allows clerks to begin processing absentee voter ballots prior to election day.
  • We are not out the woods yet when it comes to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. She reminded Michiganders to be smart, mask up and stay safe.

Here are updates from Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health.

Khaldun says Michigan’s overall case rate is at 57 cases per million people per day. The state’s positivity rate is at 3.7 percent (of tests coming back positive).

  • Detroit and Saginaw Regions: have more than 40 cases per million people per day.
    • Khaldun said while the cases in these areas are declining, test positivity is increasing.
  • Traverse City Region: 31 cases per million people per day.
    • Test positivity is below 3 percent.
    • In this region, both indicators are declining.
  • Kalamazoo and Jackson Regions: over 40 cases per million people per day.
  • Grand Rapids, Lansing and UP Regions: increased to more than 70 cases per million people per day.
    • These increases are in large part because of outbreaks associated with universities and colleges.

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“Our deaths remain steady averaging under 10 deaths per day,” said Khaldun. “We’re glad this number is not as high as it was back in March and April, but our hearts are still with those who are still losing loved ones to this disease. We also know people are surviving after being infected with Covid-19. There are over 85,500 people in Michigan who have survived and are alive at least 30 days after their symptoms, that’s a good sign but I want to be very clear, death is not the only outcome that matters. Many people who survive Covid-19 do not immediately get back to their normal state of health.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called on Michigan citizens and the state legislature to take action now ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

“Already we’ve had three successful elections this year which saw record turnout, record numbers of citizens voting by mail, and little to no crowding on Election Day. We are on track to replicate this success in November,” said Benson. “Our clerks are doing their part, working tirelessly as they have all year to juggle unprecedented challenges while embracing record turnout. But they and voters need support from the federal government and our state legislature.”

Benson noted that while other states provide days for pre-processing of absentee ballots, Senate Bill 757, passed yesterday by the Michigan Senate would allow only a few more hours, and only limited pre-processing, which is not enough to make a significant difference. Benson also pointed out that thousands of voters were disenfranchised in the August primary because their ballots arrived late or without a signature matching the one on their voter registration. The legislature has not advanced the bills that have been introduced to prevent such disenfranchisement in November.

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