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Whitmer asks for more COVID-19 vaccine, wants high schools and sports to go remote

The governor also urges diners to opt for takeout or outdoor options rather than eating inside restaurants
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a coronavirus press conference.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a coronavirus press conference.(State of Michigan)
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 11:10 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - As Michigan continues dealing with a massive surge in COVID-19, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the federal government to send more vaccine, high schools to go remote again, youth sports to take a break and diners to avoid eating in restaurants.

All four of Whitmer’s requests are voluntary and not official mandates from her administration.

Whitmer has asked President Joe Biden’s administration to send more doses of vaccine as Michigan works to turn around the nation’s worst COVID-19 transmission rate. She pointed out the state will reach 5 million vaccinations later Friday, but the state’s key coronavirus statistics keep climbing.

The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases every day, the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals and the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests all are climbing over the past month. The percentage of positive tests set an 11-month record this week.

“Right now our numbers are alarming, and we all have a role to play to get our state moving in the right direction again,” Whitmer said. “That’s why I’m renewing my call on the federal government to surge additional vaccines to our state.”

The Associated Press is reporting that Biden responded to Whitmer’s request by offering to send additional federal resources to support vaccinations and more COVID-19 testing, along with drugs used to treat the illness. But his administration will not be sending more vaccine doses beyond the state’s normal allocation.

Whitmer is urging high schools to return to remote instruction models for at least two weeks and youth sports teams to suspend activities for the next two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 among youth. Both requests are not mandates, so high schools and sports can continue in-person activities if they choose.

Youth sports teams are required to test all athletes, coaches and team member for COVID-19 at least once a week and before each activity where masks are not worn. But the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says outbreaks tied to youth sports are continuing.

“We’ve seen that the younger population has played a significant role in transmission during this most recent spike,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive. “I urge youth sports organizers to pause in-person activities for the next couple weeks, and as always, mask up, wash your hands, social distance and get your safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are able.”

Whitmer also is asking diners to choose eating outdoors or ordering takeout voluntarily rather than dining indoors at restaurants for a couple weeks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“This is a team effort. It’s on all of us to do our part by masking up and getting vaccinated to protect ourselves and our families, so we can get back to normal,” Whitmer said. “Let’s get it done.”

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