Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Monday extended her statewide partial lockdown order through Dec. 20, with officials citing “alarmingly high” coronavirus infection rates.
The order represents a 12-day extension from the original “Pause to Save Lives” order, slated to expire at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. The measure closes bars and restaurants for dine-in services and restricts in-person instruction at colleges and high schools.
In a press briefing Tuesday, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon said officials have observed an increase in deaths from the virus in recent days.
Whitmer said the extension is necessary to gauge the spread of the virus as a result of Thanksgiving gatherings.
"Hope is on the horizon, but we need an additional 12 days to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus," she said. "This is all about protecting our families and front-line workers until we eradicate this virus once and for all."
Whitmer added that the state had surpassed 100 deaths a day from the virus, “and that means our progress is fragile and we cannot let up yet.”
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association had urged Whitmer to announce such an extension earlier Monday, saying it was necessary to keep the state health care system from being overwhelmed.
"Data is indicating slight declines in COVID-19 emergency department visits, daily admissions and total hospitalizations," the group said in a statement. "As physicians, we’re telling you: These measures are working."
The association praised Whitmer for extending the order in a statement Monday afternoon.
“It is still up to all Michiganders to do their part in our state’s response,” the group said. “Honor health care workers this holiday season by getting your flu shot and practicing the big three preventive measures: wear a mask, avoid social gatherings and practice proper hand hygiene. We are all in this together.”