LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order on Tuesday, May 26, that expands the amount of Michigan residents who can get a COVID-19 test.
Whitmer’s order allows anyone who leaves their home for work, or has even just mild symptoms of COVID-19, may receive a test at a community testing location without a doctor’s recommendation beforehand.
“One of the most powerful tools that we have in the fight against this virus is widespread testing,” Whitmer said during a briefing in Lansing on Tuesday. “We need to keep working to expand testing and require people who test positive to isolate from others so we can prevent that community spread. ”It's crucial that people who are at risk of catching this virus get tested.
“The more people that get tested, the better we can get a better appreciation for how prevalent COVID-19 is and how many people are really carrying it. That gives us a much stronger position to make determinations about when we can safely take that next step forward.”
On Tuesday, the state also launched a new dashboard that displays data on COVID-19 cases, deaths and tests in each of the state’s regions under Whitmer’s MI Safe Start plan.
Ionia County is located in Region 2, or the Grand Rapids region. Per the dashboard, Region 2 has about 45 new cases per million residents per day over a seven-day average.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, highlighted the region as having the highest rate of new cases of the state’s eight regions. She added, however, that overall case numbers were falling in the region, which mirrors the state’s trends.
“As we slowly reopen the economy, it would be important for us to monitor data to make sure we are testing sufficiently, and to make sure we're swiftly responding to and containing any outbreaks,” Khaldun said. “Even if cases are low in an area, it does not mean that all of the risk is gone. People should remain vigilant in all areas of the state, practicing social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands frequently.”
During the briefing, Whitmer also addressed a series of rumors that alleged she and her family had traveled to a second home in northern-Antrim County over Memorial Day weekend.
Whitmer denied the rumors, but did verify that her husband asked an Antrim County business if being married to Whitmer would help his chances of getting business.
Whitmer called it “a failed attempt at humor.”COVID-19 cases in Michigan
State reports 223 new COVID-19 cases
On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 223 new cases of COVID-19, along with 26 newly confirmed deaths from the virus.
Michigan now has 55,104 total confirmed cases and 5,266 confirmed deaths from COVID-19.
According to MDHHS, Ionia County has 144 confirmed cases and three deaths from COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
— Contact reporter Arpan Lobo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @arpanlobo.