(CBS DETROIT) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference on Nov. 5 on the state’s response to COVID-19.

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Whitmer began by congratulating Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and candidates from Michigan on their victories in the general election.

“On behalf of the people of Michigan, I want to congratulate Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Senator Gary Peters, Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, and Justice-Elect Elizabeth Welch on their victories. This was a hard-fought election on both sides, shattering the record for the most votes cast in the history of our state, with more than 5.1 million votes and over 3.2 absentee ballots cast,” the governor said.

Whitmer said the people have spoken, and with the election behind us, now is the time for our nation to come together.

“We have a common enemy, and it is Covid-19, not one another. This pandemic has ravaged our state, infecting more than 190,000 people and taking the lives of more than 7,400 Michiganders. As governor, I’m ready to work with the president and our state legislature on areas where we can find common ground to keep our state safe. I remain firmly committed to doing everything we can to slow the spread of this deadly virus, so we can protect the health and safety of our families, our frontline workers, our seniors, and our small businesses. Let’s all mask up, Michigan, and let’s get through this together,” said Whitmer.

Here’s the governor’s updates:

  • Fighting this virus has always been a team sport, one that requires leaders from both sides of the aisle to work together to keep Michiganders safe.
  • Whitmer sent a letter to Republican legislative leaders urging them to pass legislation requiring all Michiganders to wear masks in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor areas.
  • Wearing a mask protects families, frontline workers, and most vulnerable members of society.
  • If the legislature is serious about fighting this virus and saving lives, they’ll start by passing the most important life-saving rule of all: wear a mask.
  • Families, frontline workers, small businesses, and communities across the country are awaiting much-needed action from the federal government.
  • Whitmer said Michigan needs the president and Mitch McConnel to work across the aisle to pass a bipartisan relief package that includes:
    • Help for unemployed workers.
    • Support for Michigan’s small businesses and women and minority-owned businesses.
    • More resources to safely reopen Michigan’s schools.
    • Increased testing and PPE supplies to keep people safe.
    • State and local aid.
  • Her administration is continuing to take action to protect Michigan workers as cases ramp up and the state continues to fight the virus.
  • MIOSHA is increasing its scrutiny on the remote work policies established by Michigan businesses, primarily those in offices.
  • Employers must create a policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.
  • It’s time to double down on mask-wearing and safe physical distancing.

  • As Michiganders head into Thanksgiving follow the guidance issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
    • Get together outside whenever possible. You have up to 20 times higher risk of getting sick inside.
    • If you do get together inside, include no more than two households and 10 people.
    • Wash hands regularly and try not to share utensils.
    • Wear a mask, take it off when you eat or drink, then put it back on.
    • Keep six feet apart as much as you can.
    • When possible, keep voices down; high volume can increase Covid transmission by 30 times.

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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 it’s very concerning what the DHHS is seeing across the state. Michigan’s overall case rate is at 261 cases per million people per day. The state is seeing more than five times the number of cases now than in early September. In September, Michigan’s overall case rate was around 57 cases per million people per day. In September, the state’s positivity rate was 3.7 percent (of tests coming back positive). Khaldun says this is an indication there is community spread across the state.

There have been 43,000 diagnostic tests per day over the past week. The state’s positivity rate however is at 7.5 percent (of tests coming back positive) and the rate has been increasing for the past five weeks, according to Khaldun.

  • UP Region: has the highest case rate at 509 cases per million people per day. This rate has been increasing for nine weeks straight, Khaldun says.
  • Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Regions: have 370 and 331 cases per million people per day. Both regions have the highest test positivity rate in the state at over nine percent.
  • Detroit, Lansing, Saginaw and Traverse City Regions: have over 200 cases per million people per day and a between 5.5-7.7 percent positivity rate.
  • Jackson Region: has the lowest case rate at 193 cases per million people per day and the lowest positivity rate at 4.1 percent.

In every region across the state, hospitalizations are increasing and as of Nov. 4 more than 1,900 people were hospitalized for Covid-19.

“That’s almost four times more than we saw at the end of August,” said Khaldun.

She also said if the state continues at the rate it is going with the coronavirus, Michigan could see “up to 100 deaths a day by the end of December.”

The local health departments are investigating over 590 outbreaks across the state, which is the largest number of outbreaks since the beginning of tracking investigations.

Here are some examples of outbreaks from Khaldun:

  • A family attended a birthday party which resulted in six cases
  • A wedding in the fall resulted in 13 new coronavirus cases
  • There have been outbreaks at recreational facilities
  • A high school sleepover
  • A high school banquet
  • There have been multiple outbreaks associated with both K-12 and college sports teams
  • There have been multiple outbreaks associated with funerals
  • Outbreaks have also impacted workplaces
    • This includes office buildings, assembly plants, manufacturing and a grocery store

“Employers that can have their employees work from home right now, should be doing that. This means most office work and for those companies that really must have their employees come to work, they should be making those workplaces as safe as possible, and enforcing physical distancing and mask requirements,” said Khaldun.

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