Michigan will extend the COVID-19-related emergency order for an additional 12 days.
The “pause,” which was originally slated to end Wednesday, is aimed at limiting indoor gatherings with people of different households or where people come together without wearing masks. This includes a bans indoor dining, in-person instruction at high schools, and closes casinos and movie theaters.
“Right now, 79% of all hospital beds are occupied,” warned Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a press conference on Monday.
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association, which represents all of the state’s community hospitals, urged the state to extend the restrictions beyond the originally scheduled three weeks and through the holiday season, saying that the order is “slowly stabilizing the spread of COVID-19 and leading to stabilized hospitals.”
There is concern a current spike in deaths could rise further following the Thanksgiving holiday where thousands of people gathered despite warnings by public health officials.
“Unfortunately we are now seeing over than 100 deaths per day on some days — more than seven times the number of deaths we saw in early October,” says Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive.
Khaldun hopes the cycle isn’t repeated with the upcoming holiday season.
“We know the way this virus works: someone gets infected. Then they have a positive test. And then hospitalizations rise. And after that we know that some people will, unfortunately, lose their battle with COVID-19, and they will die,” Khaldun says.
Michigan passed 400,000 confirmed cases on COVID-19 on Monday, 16 days after reaching 300,000 cases on November 21. It took five months for the state to reach 100,000 cases.