A resolution passed Tuesday is the latest move by GOP lawmakers who are pushing the Democratic governor to ease restrictions she adopted to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
LANSING - Republicans who control the Michigan Senate urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday to lift her five-week-old ban on nonessential medical and dental procedures, saying the decision to resume should be left to hospitals and health providers.
The resolution, while symbolic, is the latest move by GOP lawmakers who are pushing the Democratic governor to ease restrictions she adopted to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The voice vote came as Whitmer asks the Legislature to this week extend an emergency declaration — the underpinning of her stay-at-home and other orders — by 28 days so health workers and others are immune from civil lawsuits.
The state reported 160 additional deaths, including 40 that occurred days or weeks earlier but were added to the official count after death certificates were matched to confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 3,500 people have died.
About 1,000 new cases were reported, for total of more than 39,000. With testing on the rise, the percentage of people found to be infected is dropping. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said Monday that is a “good sign.”
At TCF Center, a Detroit convention hall, only 16 beds were in use Tuesday. "It won’t be very long before the field hospital gets shut down," Mayor Mike Duggan said.
Hospitals in the Detroit area, home to many of the state's 38,000 confirmed cases, have had to permanently or temporarily lay off employees to focus almost entirely on COVID-19 patients. Hospitals elsewhere in Michigan have made cuts, too, due to the cancellation of nonessential surgeries and other services. Many physicians have doing telemedicine appointments.
“The word elective might imply unnecessary. But in reality, there are thousands living with serious knee or hip pain, with cataracts or dental problems. I even have a friend who can't get her melanoma treated,” said Sen. Lana Theis, a Brighton Republican who accused Whitmer of having a “lack of faith” in medical professionals to safely do their work.
A message seeking comment was left with the governor's office.
The Senate also approved a resolution urging Whitmer to bring Michigan in line with federal guidance on which “ critical' workers are exempt from stay-home restrictions. The governor said Monday she will soon allow commercial and residential construction — a major industry included on the federal advisory list — to restart, but Republicans have said other business activities can safely resume, too.
Greenhouses and garden centers across Michigan either have or soon will reopen their doors to customers during one of the most important times of the year for their industry.
“Most greenhouses in Michigan, April, May and June is where you’d generate probably between 70 and 90 percent of your revenue. To say it’s critical is an understatement. Without this time of year, it’s not sustainable,” said Chris Schwartz, manager of Schwartz’s Greenhouse in Wayne County’s Huron Township.
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