Whitmer won't move Michigan to Phase 5 of coronavirus reopening plan

 (MGN Image with WLUC Edits in Canva)
(MGN Image with WLUC Edits in Canva) (WLUC)
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 3:56 PM EDT
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(6/30/2020) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hoped to move all of Michigan to Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start plan by Fourth of July, but on Tuesday she said that won't happen.

The northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula moved to that level of reduced coronavirus restrictions a few weeks ago. She hoped to move the whole state there by this weekend.

But as the daily coronavirus case counts increase, Whitmer said it won't happen. Instead, she is conferring with experts on the next steps and she plans to release more information later this week.

Whitmer called on residents to "take it easy" during their Fourth of July celebrations and "don't play fast and loose with the rules," including wearing a mask in public.

“COVID-19 is still part of our reality. Let’s do what we know is the right thing," she said.

Whitmer pointed out Michigan is in a better position than other states in the South, which are seeing rapidly increasing case counts and hospitals treating more patients.

Coronavirus numbers in Michigan remain much lower than late March and April, but daily case counts are rebounding. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan's chief medical executive, said all eight regions of Michigan are seeing higher increases in COVID-19.

Khaldun said the Lansing region is seeing the highest rate of confirmed coronavirus cases at 40 per million residents. The Grand Rapids region is the next highest at 20 cases per million residents per day.

All other regions, including both covering Mid-Michigan, remain at fewer than 20 cases per million residents.

Khaldun said several localized outbreaks have been reported around the state linked to workplaces, parties and nursing homes. She said the 20 to 29 years old age group is seeing the highest rate of growth.

“I implore everyone: Please take this seriously," she said.