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Whitmer Blasts Federal Epidemic Strategy, Vague About Her Own

Health director, 'there are many things that we’re looking at'

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used an Aug. 5 press conference to complain about how unprepared the federal government has been when dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.

“It’s nearly five months since the first cases of COVID-19 hit our state. Five months and we still don’t have a comprehensive national strategy from the federal government. We don’t have a federal mask mandate, or a widespread testing plan. And the federal government has not yet agreed on a recovery plan to help the states and locals mitigate the unprecedented impact that this virus has had,” Whitmer said.

Yet, when asked by a reporter what needs to happen for her to loosen restrictions on Michigan, the responses were vague.

Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Deputy Director for Health for the state of Michigan, described what must happen for the administration to lift more restrictions.

Khaldun said the state wants to see a decrease to fewer than 10 cases per million per day, and that she wants to see a “percent positivity” below 3% and to trend that way “for some time.” She didn’t expand on how long “some time” would be.

Khaldun continued: “Again, we’re also watching our hospitalizations, we’re watching our deaths. We’re making sure our testing capacity is what it needs to be. So there are many things that we’re looking at to determine how we move forward with the phases across the state.”

Michigan has had 23 COVID-19 related deaths in the first five days of August, according to the New York Times database. On April 27 there were 232 COVID-19 related deaths in Michigan. 

There are 694 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Michigan as of Aug. 3.

The state’s hospitals have a bed occupancy rate of 69% as of Aug. 3.