Governor Whitmer unveils plan to loosen COVID restrictions
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Whitmer said Michigan’s plans to loosen COVID restrictions will depend now on vaccination rates. The Governor announced Thursday, April 29 Michigan’s pathway to return to normal by unveiling the ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan. The has a goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 years or older. To facilitate this goal, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy.
“The MI Vacc to Normal challenge outlines steps we can take to emerge from this pandemic as we hit our vaccination targets together,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to rise to the challenge and be a part of the solution so we can continue our economic recovery and have the summer we all crave.”
Since Governor Whitmer asked Michiganders to double down on smart public health policies on April 9, Michigan has made significant progress to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The number of daily cases has dropped from 649.9 cases per million to 439.3 cases per million, the percent of positive tests has declined from 18.3% to 13.2%, and the number hospitalizations has fallen from 3,780 to 3,520.
Recently, Michigan reached another vaccination milestone in record time — administering more than six million doses of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, with the latest one million doses being administered in 11 days. Although progress has been made, it is crucial that Michiganders continue to mask up and socially distance as the state takes steps to get back to normal. It is also crucial for everyone to get their second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which Michiganders have been doing at a rate of 96.4%, above the national average.
“The safe and effective vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “By getting shots in their arms as soon as possible, Michiganders can protect themselves, their families and their communities and help end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”
Michigan continues to have some of the strongest public health policies in the Midwest. The state still has a mask mandate and capacity limitations on indoor dining, indoor gatherings, and entertainment venues. As the number of vaccinations increase, experts have said that states can begin loosening some public health policies as these activities become less risky for vaccinated individuals.
“Our state had made great progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 since Governor Whitmer asked for Michiganders to step up on April 9,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “I am proud of the progress that we have made by working together. If residents continue to get their vaccines, wear masks and avoid indoor gatherings, we will soon be able to take further steps to loosen our public health requirements and better be able to enjoy the activities that we all love.”
The ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan will use four vaccination-based milestones — using data for Michiganders 16 years or older who’ve received their first dose — to guide future steps required to get back to normal: