COVID-19 May Updates

POAM is sharing the latest COVID-19 May updates affecting our great state of Michigan. We will consistently update this post as additional updates come in.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on May 27, 2020.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Update

Midland Visit

Governor Whitmer visited Midland yesterday to survey the damage from the flooding and get an update from the team on the ground.

“This flooding forced thousands to evacuate their homes, destroyed public infrastructure, ruined homes, and businesses, and caused major natural resource damage,” said Governor Whitmer. “We must ensure accountability and prevent a disaster like this from happening again. I want to thank the first responders and volunteers who have stepped up to help in this time of unprecedented need.”

Governor Whitmer also sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) directing the department to investigate what caused the Edenville Dam and Sanford Dam to fail, resulting in historic flooding in several mid-Michigan counties. Governor Whitmer also asked EGLE to review the larger issue of dam safety in Michigan and provide recommendations on policy, legislative, budgetary, and enforcement reforms that can prevent these harms from repeating elsewhere.

PPE Support

With efforts to re-engage Michigan’s economy underway through recent executive orders signed by Governor Whitmer, the Pure Michigan Business Connect program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has developed a portal specifically designed to support the personal protective equipment (PPE) needs of Michigan businesses as they start the process of re-opening.

“We want to ensure we are opening up in a way that is safe, smart, and does not undo the progress we have made in flattening the curve of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “Through the PMBC COVID-19 Procurement Platform, we can help employers access the PPE they need to ensure their employees feel safe returning to work, while also supporting Michigan businesses that will be critical to economic recovery efforts.”

The online portal can be accessed at www.michiganbusiness.org/ppe and is open to companies of all sizes and industries and is available for all scales of PPE demand.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 504 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 55,608.

Happening Across State Government

  • Yesterday, state leaders urged those with recently reconnected residential water service to begin the process of working with local water departments to identify assistance programs and financial assistance to remain connected.

“No one should have to worry about having water during a pandemic,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. “Local water departments can help, and MDHHS is also prepared to help eligible residents access assistance to keep their water connected.”

  • State leaders encourage anyone facing financial distress because of COVID-19 to:
    • Contact their local water department to learn about assistance programs. Detroit residents should reach out to Wayne Metro at 313-386-9727.
    • Call 211 or go to www.mi211.org for information about getting help paying utility bills or to learn more about agencies that can provide assistance with paying for water bills.
    • Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) bill payment assistance directly online at Michigan.gov/MIBridges or call 855-275-6424.
  • In a special notice issued on May 26, 2020, the state Treasury Department is now allowing business taxpayers scheduled to make SUW tax payments for the February, March, April, and May tax periods on June 20, 2020 – including quarterly filers – to either pay their outstanding balance in its entirety or pay their outstanding balance in monthly payments over the next six months. Penalties and interest will be waived on those deferred payments.

“Michigan businesses are looking for ways to continue operating during and after this crisis and we know that many have taken advantage of tax payment extensions,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “Providing an installment payment option enables businesses to spread out their obligations over the next six months without incurring additional cost. Taxpayers are encouraged to pay their entire balance if able to do so.”

  • The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) today warned residents of attempts by criminals to file imposter claims in pursuit of benefits. The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) recently issued a national alert regarding an international criminal ring exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit largescale fraud against state unemployment programs. The UIA, Michigan State Police Cyber Command, and Dept. of Technology Management and Budget Cybersecurity are coordinating with the USSS to obtain cyber threat indicators related to national fraud activity. No personal data from claimants have been stolen from the UIA.

“There is a rise in unlawful unemployment claims across the nation and unfortunately criminals are taking advantage of this global pandemic. Michiganders who suspect an imposter claim has been filed in their name should contact the UIA immediately,” said UIA Director Steve Gray. “We are working with law enforcement to identify and prevent scammers from accessing the system and will work to ensure all unemployment benefits are sent to the Michigan workers that deserve them.”


This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on May 25, 2020.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Update

Extended Stay at Home Order

On Friday, May 22, Governor Whitmer extended Michigan’s Safer at Home order until June 12, 2020 to protect Michiganders from the spread of COVID-19. The order also extends the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, gyms, and casinos.

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” said Governor Whitmer. “If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed. While we finally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again. We owe it to the real heroes on the front lines of this crisis – our first responders, health care workers, and critical workers putting their lives on the line every day – to do what we can ourselves to stop the spread of the virus.”

New Executive Order

The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-99 to extend the state of emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was upheld by Judge Cynthia Stephens on May 21, 2020. The governor’s swift action and aggressive measures are working, but there is still more to be done. For instance, cases in some counties in Western and Mid-Michigan are now doubling approximately every 10 days. To continue to protect Michigan families from both the public health and economic impacts of the virus, and to lower the chance of a second wave, the governor’s emergency declaration is extended until June 19, 2020.

Temporary Pay Raise

Governor Whitmer announced a temporary $2-per-hour pay raise for direct care workers providing Medicaid-funded in-home behavioral health and long-term care services to Michigan’s most vulnerable residents during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is part of Governor Whitmer’s ongoing efforts to support front-line health care workers risking their lives every day to protect the health and safety of these residents during the unprecedented public health crisis.

“It has never been more important to care for our most vulnerable residents, and these direct care health workers are risking their lives every day to make sure we continue to flatten the curve,” Governor Whitmer said. “It is our duty as Michiganders to ensure these front-line heroes have the financial support they need to continue doing their critical work while caring for themselves and their families.”

Memorial Day Tribute

In honor of Memorial Day, Governor Whitmer directed flags to remain at half-staff to remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“Memorial Day pays tribute to the brave Michiganders who selflessly heeded the call of duty despite the incredible and inherent dangers facing them,” Whitmer said. “In honor of the women and men who gave everything to their country, we resolve ourselves to work alongside each other to build a state that is worthy of their service and sacrifice.”

Additional Executive Orders

Governor Whitmer also signed a number of executive orders on Friday that; extend the validity of watercraft registrations, extend the temporary suspension of Michigan’s Reid Vapor Pressure standards and permits, and allow local governments to use alternative means to send out hearing notifications.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 202 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 54,881.

Happening Across State Government

  • Yesterday, departments across the state honored the service of those who gave their lives for both Michigan and the country.
  • On Friday, the Michigan National Guard (MING) announced that they partnered with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), State Emergency Operations Center, Muskegon County, the City of Muskegon Heights, and numerous other local partners over the weekend to offer no-cost COVID-19 tests to residents of Muskegon County.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on May 21, 2020.

Thursday, May 21, 2020 Update

Opening Retail Businesses

At yesterday’s press conference, Governor Whitmer announced she is reopening retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment statewide on Tuesday, May 26, as part of her MI Safe Start plan, as well as lifting the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures statewide beginning on Friday, May 29. Finally, she announced that the executive order she signed authorizes small gatherings of 10 people or less starting immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing.

“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of this virus.”

She was joined by leaders in Michigan’s auto dealership and retail industry who spoke about the steps they will take to ensure the health and safety of both their staff and their customers. The governor was also joined by Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society who spoke about the importance of taking care of patients while we simultaneously fight COVID-19.

“With today’s announcement, physicians and health care providers in Michigan are ready to resume taking care of patients,” said Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society. “It is time for patients to catch up on the care that has been deferred for the past two months. We encourage the citizens of Michigan to tend to their health and protect each other by following public health guidance to prevent the spread of this virus.”

Brief Update on Midland Flooding

Governor Whitmer also provided a brief update on the state’s response to the emergency concerning dam conditions and flooding in Midland County. The state has worked closely with local officials and the federal government to ensure Midland county families who have been impacted have the support they need. The governor also urged people to protect themselves from COVID-19 by continuing to wear a mask, washing hands, and staying socially distant.

FEMA Approved Request

Yesterday, FEMA approved Governor Whitmer’s request for a federal emergency declaration that will provide additional resources to Midland County to respond to the extreme flooding. This initial approval is limited to certain direct assistance from federal agencies to deal with immediate challenges but could be expanded as the state and FEMA complete the damage assessment.

“The federal emergency declaration is a good start because it will help us take protective measures to protect lives and property from further damage,” Governor Whitmer said. “These devastating floods have forced thousands of people from their homes and caused a tremendous amount of damage to our infrastructure. I’m hopeful that the federal government will soon approve the full funding request to help Michigan families rebuild after this natural disaster.”

Volunteering in Lansing

Governor Whitmer also went to Lansing Schools to help volunteers and dedicated educators hand out food and supplies to fellow Michiganders. While we all stay safer at home it is important to remember that there are ways to contribute to helping people across the state. To find out how you can volunteer visit www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19.

Local COVID-19 Testing

The governor also went to a local drive-thru testing site to get tested for COVID-19 and demonstrate to Michiganders across the state how easy it is to get tested. To find a testing site in your area and give them a call visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirusTEST.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 501 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 53,510.

Happening Across State Government

  • Yesterday, the Michigan Veteran’s Affairs Agency announced that Governor Whitmer’s administration is giving Michigan counties the option of using state County Veteran Service Fund (CVSF) grants directly for COVID-19 emergency assistance to veterans and their families. This will allow veterans in participating counties to make vehicle and home repairs, pay medical expenses, buy groceries and personal care items, and meet other needs determined emergent.

“We will do everything in our power to support Michigan’s veterans and their families who are struggling financially because of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Whitmer said. “We’re encouraging counties to use these state-appropriated funds to provide direct relief for these brave men and women to help them put food on the table for their families, make essential repairs to their homes and vehicles, pay doctor bills and meet other basic needs.”

  • This virus has created uncertain and difficult times for many Michiganders, that is why MDHHS is working hard to ensure people have the resources they need to help with their emotional health.
  • The Michigan Public Service Commission reminded homeowners that they should not wait until the last minute to have underground utilities marked by MISS DIG 811. With spring weather arriving and homeowners turning to backyard projects, and with companies resuming construction, there’s pent-up demand for location marking for buried utilities including natural gas, telecommunications, electricity, water, and sewer lines.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 11 p.m. on May 20, 2020.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Update

Update to the Midland Flooding

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer provided a brief update from Midland High School regarding the state’s response to the emergency concerning dam conditions in Midland County and the resulting flooding.

Midland Shelter Locations

The American Red Cross is responding to historic flooding in Midland and surrounding areas. Shelters are open to safely house residents that have evacuated their homes acting on orders from local emergency management and Governor Whitmer. Area residents who are evacuated from their homes are welcomed at the following locations:

Coleman High School                                        North Midland Family Center
4951 N. Lewis Road                                          2601 E. Shearer Road
Coleman, MI 48618                                           Midland, MI  48642

Midland High School                                         West Midland Family Center
1301 Eastlawn Drive                                          4011 W. Isabella Road
Midland, MI 48642                                             Shepherd, MI 48883

Bullock Creek High School                                Freeland High School
1420 S. Badour Road                                        8250 Webster Road
Midland, MI 48640                                            Freeland, MI 48623

Swan Valley High School                                  Hemlock High School
8380 Ohern Road                                              733 N. Hemlock Road
Saginaw, MI 48609                                            Hemlock, MI 48626

Members of the public seeking service or volunteer opportunities are encouraged to contact 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or http://www.redcross.org.

Providing Assistance to Michigan Residents

Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel committed to exploring any legal avenue available to assist Michigan residents who are recovering from the flood in Midland County and secure compensation for damages to public property and natural resources.

“The damage from this crisis has devastated thousands of Midland County residents and business owners,” said Governor Whitmer. “We must work together to ensure everyone who has been impacted by this event has the support they need to recover. I will work with the Attorney General and my partners at the state and federal level to help our families through this, and to help them get back on their feet once it’s safe to return home.”

Requesting Federal Aid

Governor Whitmer also sent a letter to President Trump requesting federal aid in responding to the catastrophic flooding in Midland County. The governor then called on President Trump to declare an emergency for Midland County on an expedited basis.

“Despite our efforts, local and state resources have been insufficient to respond to the situation. The availability of equipment and personnel is further limited due to the ongoing effects and response requirements of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” Governor Whitmer continued. “Therefore, additional federal assistance is required to protect public health, safety, and property, and to lessen or avert the threat of more severe and persisting impacts on the community.”

New Executive Order

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-95, which extends and further enhances protections for the health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities. The order expands on protections provided in Executive Order 2020-50 and provides clear procedures for facilities and hospitals to follow when residents test positive for or experience symptoms of COVID-19. The order takes effect immediately and continues through June 17.

“It’s critical that employees at long-term care facilities have access to the resources they need so they can properly care for our loved ones, and that COVID-19-positive residents have a safe place to recover while isolating from other residents,” Governor Whitmer said. “These employees put their lives on the line every day to care for our most vulnerable residents, and we owe it them to do whatever we can to ensure their safety and the safety of the people they care for.”

April Unemployment Data

The governor also released the following statement after the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget released Michigan’s April unemployment numbers when the state had reached a peak number of positive cases of COVID-19.

“We are going through an unprecedented crisis, unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime,” said Governor Whitmer. “This virus has devastated families across the state and put hardworking Michiganders out of a job for months. I will continue working around the clock to ensure everyone who qualifies for unemployment benefits receives them during this time. But this isn’t just a problem in Michigan. Families across the country need help. We’re counting on the federal government to work together to provide additional flexibility and aid for states like Michigan to continue supporting essential services like health care, education, and police and fire departments. We will get through this together.”

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 659 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 53,009.

MDHHS Emergency Order

On Monday, May 18, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order finding that the procedures and restrictions in Executive Orders 2020-69, 2020-71, 2020-91 and 2020-92 are needed to control the COVID-19 epidemic, reinforcing the governor’s orders and allowing for civil fines of up to $1,000 and referral to licensing agencies for violations.

“More than 51,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in our state, and appropriate social distancing is the primary tool available to slow the spread of the virus and save lives,” Gordon said. “The real heroes of this crisis are the medical workers, first responders, and other essential workers who are putting their lives on the line for us every day. We owe it to them to do what we can ourselves to stop the spread of the virus. The Executive Orders issued by Governor Whitmer are intended to protect the health and safety of all Michiganders. A civil penalty and potential licensing actions send a strong message to Michiganders that we are serious about enforcing these orders.”

Happening Across State Government

  • Michigan National Guard units from Bay City, Saginaw, Port Huron, and other nearby communities have responded to a request for assistance following the massive flooding in the Midland area resulting from the breach of the Edenville and Sanford Dams.

“Our priority is supporting the State of Michigan’s response to this situation and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Michigan citizens,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Members of the Michigan National Guard are trained to respond at a moment’s notice when their skills are called upon – their professionalism is another reassuring example of the guard’s mission as ‘Michiganders helping Michiganders.’”

  • DNR conservation officers evacuated people and pets during the Midland County flood. More than 20 conservation officers from throughout the region responded with 10 DNR patrol vessels and search and rescue equipment to help continue the evacuation of flood victims.

“Conservation officers are specially trained and strategically placed in communities throughout the state with the equipment they need to respond to natural disasters and emergency situations such as this,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “This is a difficult time for our state and the people in the Midland community affected by the flooding, and we are here to help.”

  • Yesterday, State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks announced a total of $2.7 million is being awarded to 14 municipalities through the Financially Distressed Cities, Villages and Townships (FDCVT) Grant Program.

“I am pleased to announce that this year’s grant awards will help fund infrastructure and public safety projects in Michigan communities,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “These dollars will enhance those critical services that residents depend on every day, and even more so during times of crisis like these.”

  • Yesterday, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) outlined key protocols that U-pick operations should be implementing to protect themselves and their customers.

“Michigan is home to a wide array of delicious products and these farms play a critical role in our food supply chain. As we head into the 2020 growing season and early harvest for some commodities, U-pick operators will need to follow specific guidance such as social distancing in the retail and field areas, using masks, and taking the necessary steps to protect public health,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD Director.


This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 11 p.m. on May 19, 2020.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 Update

Midland Flooding

Last night, Governor Whitmer provided an update after she declared a state of emergency for Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford Dams breached. She urged residents to evacuate immediately as the water is expected to potentially cover downtown Midland in several feet of water, and remained everyone to remain diligent and stay safe and help one another.

“If you have not evacuated the area, do so now and get somewhere safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen in Midland County. If you have a family member or loved one who lives in another part of the state, go there now. If you don’t, go to one of the shelters that have opened across the county. I want to thank the emergency responders, Michigan National Guard members, and the Michigan State Police on the ground helping residents evacuate. Stay safe, and take care of each other.”

Extended Executive Orders

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer extended her previous order which gives pharmacists increased operational capacity and expands access to prescriptions for Michiganders who need them.

“As we continue to suppress the spread of COVID-19, Michiganders need to continue to stay safer at home,” said Governor Whitmer. “By allowing patients to get a refill of their prescriptions for up to 60 days from pharmacists, people can reduce their time traveling and in turn lower the chance of the second wave of COVID-19.”

Testing Locator

The state has continued to work to expanding testing, and right now there are over 250 testing sites available for Michiganders to go get tested if they believe they have symptoms or come in to contact with someone who has COVID-19. As we all do our part to slow the spread of the virus, testing will be vital to ensuring Michiganders are safe and healthy.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 435 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 52,350.

Happening Across State Government

  • Yesterday, the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Labor and Economic Opportunity announced that they are leading efforts to help fill critical food and agriculture jobs that are emerging due, in large part, to the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the collaborative effort includes raising awareness of existing resources and services available to food and agriculture businesses, as well as promoting opportunities for job seekers.

“Throughout this emergency, MDARD has been hosting regular calls with industry stakeholder groups, and one of the top issues raised has been the growing need for skilled workers,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Understanding how essential skilled workers are in the food and agriculture supply chain, we were quick to call upon the knowledgeable experts at LEO and Michigan Works! to find effective solutions to a rapidly growing problem.”

  • Michigan’s Medical Director for Behavioral Health connected with Michiganders yesterday to remind them that we are in this together. As we stay safer at home she provided ways to minimize tensions in conflicts while at home and encouraged everyone to take care of themselves during Mental Health Month.
  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund yesterday approved a broad range of initiatives, business expansions, and community revitalization projects to drive the economic recovery of Michigan’s businesses and communities and position the state for future prosperity.

    “Today’s MSF actions build on our efforts to deploy every resource available to support Michigan’s businesses, communities and residents as they work to economically recover from the COVID-19 virus,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “It is more vital than ever that we stay focused on restoring economic prosperity for all Michiganders and the projects approved today are putting our state in a position to not only recover economically but to thrive.”


This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 11 p.m. on May 18, 2020.

Monday, May 18, 2020 Update

Reopening Two of Michigan’s Regions

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer announced that starting on Friday, regions 6 and 8 (the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower MI), can reopen retail businesses, office work that cannot be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating. The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-91, expanding protections for Michigan workers as the governor begins to safely re-engage sectors of the economy.

“This is a big step, but we must all remember to continue doing our part to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “It’s crucial that all businesses do everything in their power to protect their workers, customers, and their families. And as we approach Memorial Day weekend, I encourage everyone to be smart and be safe. My team and I will continue to work around the clock to protect the people of Michigan.”

Under the new Executive Order 2020-91, businesses that resume in-person work must, among other things, develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and make it available to employees and customers by June 1. Businesses must also provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.

During a press conference yesterday, the governor was joined by local officials and business leaders to reinforce ways they are working to ensure their employees, customers, and all Michiganders stay safe as regions 6 and 8 reopen.

“We are thankful to Governor Whitmer as today marks an important first step of reintegrating restaurants into the fabric of our daily lives,” said Justin Winslow, President, and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Restaurants in the U.P. and northern Michigan understand that with their opportunity comes an extraordinary responsibility to operate in a manner that ensures the safety of their guests and their employees. I believe they are up to the challenge.”

“Like Gov. Whitmer, Mayors in Michigan support the well-being of all our citizens,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers. “All regions of Michigan have been affected by COVID-19, and Up North, we want to support the Governor by cautiously opening up some of our economic resources. However, in doing so, we must be mindful that wearing masks and continuing to practice social distancing is a must to make this work. Stopping the spread of this virus is still key and if we can’t, then we will have to close it down again.”

Interview With Seth Meyers

Governor Whitmer also joined Seth Meyers to talk about Michigan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They chatted about everything from flattening the curve to her new nickname. Check out the full video.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 773 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 51,915.

Happening Across State Government

  • In support of businesses navigating their way through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Treasury issued a notice that provides business taxpayers additional time to pay their Sales, Use, and Withholding (SUW) taxes. Business taxpayers who were scheduled to make SUW tax payments due in March, April, and May – including quarterly filers – can postpone filing requirements until June 20, 2020. The state Treasury Department will waive penalties and interest on those deferred payments.

“We have carefully listened to the concerns of our business partners,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “Moving the sales, use, and withholding tax deadline until June and providing other repayment options will help taxpayers navigate their way through this crisis.”

  • The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) announced that the State of Michigan has been awarded more than $35 million in additional federal funding to help vulnerable households struggling to afford utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, as radio broadcasters across the state air public service announcements alerting Michiganders to the assistance available to those in need.
  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that more than 2,700 small businesses across the state have received funds from the Michigan Small Business Relief Program. Businesses in all 83 of Michigan’s counties have been impacted by COVID-19 and that is why the MEDC is working hard to provide the relief they need so this vital part Michigan’s economy can remain strong.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 11 p.m. on May 17, 2020.

Sunday, May 17, 2020 Update

New Return to Learn Advisory Council

On Friday, May 15, Governor Whitmer announced the creation of the Return to Learn Advisory Council which will work to provide recommendations to the state on how schools might safely reopen this fall. The council – which will be comprised of students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials – will be tasked with providing the COVID-19 Task Force on Education within the State Emergency Operations Center with recommendations on how to safely, equitably, and efficiently return to school in the Fall. The State of Michigan will also partner with a national nonprofit organization called Opportunity Labs to bring national expertise to this project.

“It’s critical we bring together experts in health care and education, as well as students, educators, and families to think about how and if it’s possible to safely return to in-person learning in the fall and how to ensure the more than 1.5 million K-12 students across Michigan get the education they need and deserve,” Governor Whitmer said. “This panel will use a data-informed and science-based approach with input from epidemiologists to determine if, when, and how students can return to school this fall and what that will look like.”

Michigan Update

She and Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun also provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 on Friday. The governor urged people to continue to do their part by staying safer at home, wearing a face mask and socially distancing. The governor ended by reminding us, “That we are Michiganders first. And the only way we will get through this is together.”

New Executive Orders

Last week, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-89, further extending enhanced price gouging restrictions during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure front-line workers and all Michiganders have access to necessary products during the public health crisis, Executive Order 2020-89 extends restrictions on excessive pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies, and consumer food items.

“The last thing Michiganders should have to worry about right now is being charged excessive prices for milk, bread, and other common staples they need to care for themselves and their families during this public health crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “By extending restrictions on price gouging, we can ensure Michiganders have access to the food, household supplies, and other goods they need as we continue to flatten the COVID-19 curve.”

She also signed Executive Order 2020-90, which allows laboratory research to resume under stringent precautionary measures.

“The reopening of laboratory research in Michigan marks another step toward reopening our economy and getting Michiganders back to work,” Governor Whitmer said. “This partial and incremental reopening will allow my public health team to evaluate the effects of allowing these activities to resume, assess the capacity of the health care system to respond adequately to any increases in infections, and prepare for any increases in patients.”

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 638 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 51,142.

Happening Across State Government

  • MDHHS announced that they are providing confidential emotional support counseling is now available 24/7 at no cost to Michiganders who call the state’s COVID-19 hotline. Callers to the COVID-19 hotline will hear a recording that begins by saying to press “8” if they would like to speak with a Michigan Stay Well counselor. The counselors, though not licensed professionals, have received specialized training from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Technical Assistance Center on how to provide emotional support to residents of federally declared disaster areas. A major disaster was declared in Michigan on Friday, March 27, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of COVID-19, many of us are grappling with strong emotions, including anxiety, depression, and fear,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We want Michiganders to know it is okay to have these feelings – and okay to ask for help. You don’t have to carry this burden alone.”

  • As the curve continues to flatten and many businesses reopen their doors, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) issued workplace guidelines for employers and employees and created a new hotline, 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219), to answer guideline questions and further protect Michigan’s workforce from the spread of COVID-19.

“We have to be smart about protecting our workforce and issuing these guidelines helps us ensure businesses reopen safely,” LEO Director Jeff Donofrio said. “And when employers have the proper guidance to protect their employees and customers, we can all do our part to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and continue to save lives.”


This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 11 p.m. on May 14, 2020.

Thursday, May 14, 2020 Update

Quality Education

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and plaintiffs in the Gary B. literacy case, initially filed against Governor Rick Snyder, signed a settlement agreement that resolves all of the plaintiffs’ claims against all of the defendants. This settlement marks a first step toward ensuring children in Detroit and all across Michigan – regardless of where they live – have the right to quality education.

“I have always said that every student, no matter where they come from, have a birthright to quality public education,” said Governor Whitmer. “Students in Detroit faced obstacles to their education that inhibited their ability to read – obstacles they never should have faced. In the future, I will remain committed to ensuring paths to literacy for children across Michigan. Today’s settlement is a good start, but there’s more work to do to create paths to opportunity for our children. I look forward to working with the legislature to provide funding for Detroit schools and districts across the state to help ensure educators and students have the resources they need for success.”

“Today, I’m overwhelmed with joy for the opportunities this settlement opens up for students in Detroit,” said Jamarria Hall, a 2017 graduate of Osborn High School and part of the class of plaintiffs in Gary B. v. Whitmer. “Starting this journey four years ago parents and students knew we wanted a better education, and now to really be heard for the first time means everything.”

New Executive Orders

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-83 and 2020-84, both of which were effective immediately and replace her previous orders 2020-51 and 2020-50, respectively.

“This virus has created unprecedented challenges for people across the state, and by expanding access to child care for our frontline workers, we can give them peace of mind while they work to fight the spread and protect our families,” Governor Whitmer said. “It is also necessary to continue to these important practices within long-term care facilities so we can continue to protect residents and staff from the spread of the virus. I am only extending this order for an additional week and will continue to work with partners to further protect nursing home residents and staff beyond then. I look forward to hearing suggestions from the legislature to protect Michiganders from COVID-19 and am hopeful we can work on solutions together.”

Executive Order 2020-84 establishes procedures in long-term care facilities to protect the health and safety of both employees and residents. The order provides for standard safety protocols at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to suppress the spread of COVID-19, keeping both residents and staff safe. It also establishes a network of “regional hubs” — nursing homes with separate units devoted exclusively to care of COVID-19-affected patients.

Executive Order 2020-83 ensures the availability of child care services for health care workers, first responders, and other workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Orders 2020-86 and 2020-87.

Executive Order 2020-86 expands telehealth options for Michiganders by authorizing and encouraging health care providers to use these services when appropriate and after getting consent from patients. The order takes effect immediately and continues through June 10, 2020.

“Telehealth provides a way for patients to safely consult with their doctor and receive health care services while continuing to practice social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19,” Governor Whitmer said. “This Executive Order ensures Michiganders who need health care during this ongoing pandemic can still receive care while staying safer at home.”

Executive Order 2020-87 provides an extended opportunity for individuals to dispute the assessed value of their property, extends certain equalization filing and meeting deadlines for local and county officials, and extends the deadline for filing petitions to appeal assessment determinations as to commercial and industrial property.

“With county offices closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it’s important to ensure business owners have an opportunity to appeal their property tax assessment and get questions answered, and for local and county officials to have more time to file reports,” Governor Whitmer said. “This Executive Order extends several important deadlines ensuring we can continue to flatten the curve.”

She also signed Executive Order 2020-85, which temporarily extends protections for tenants and mobile homeowners from being evicted from their home during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Its critical Michiganders can self-quarantine and continue staying safer at home without fear of being evicted,” Governor Whitmer said. “This Executive Order gives renters and mobile homeowners some peace of mind as we continue to flatten the curve.”

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 1,191 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 49,582.

MDHHS also released a statement on yesterday’s case reporting as there was a significant increase over reports from previous days. Today’s report of 1,191 cases includes cases from commercial labs Garcia, a lab with a significant presence in Michigan’s correctional facilities and corporate environment, Orchard Technology, and P4. Results from these labs were being entered manually, which led to a backlog and are now being reported electronically into MDSS.

Businesses Continue to Donate PPE

Businesses have continually stepped up to do their part to help fight COVID-19 and yesterday the governor highlighted the contributions of Coca Cola, Make it Labs, Makers Respond, and the Boyd Corporation.

Happening Across State Government

“Michiganders have been greatly impacted by COVID-19, and we must do all we can to help those who are suffering financial losses due to this pandemic,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Our state’s financial institutions have been good partners in their communities, and we encourage them to continue to assist their customers with the financial challenges they face.”

Relief funds, distributed by the federal government as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are intended for necessities, such as food, medicine, and housing during this public health emergency and disaster. Guidance issued in today’s bulletin encourages Michigan financial institutions to treat those deposits in the spirit of the disaster relief legislation so Michiganders can use the funds on those important living expenses. Institutions are strongly urged not to access customers’ COVID-19 stimulus payments to satisfy overdrafts or for overdraft fees, ATM fees, or late payment fees.

  • MDHHS announced that Michigan families hit hard by the financial and health-related impacts of COVID-19 will benefit from a $450,000 Consumers Energy Foundation grant to eight community action agencies working to meet the emergency needs of low- and moderate-income residents in 43 counties.

“Michigan’s small businesses and their employees should know that our administration will do everything within our power to support them during these challenging times,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said. “We are grateful for all of Michigan’s banks and credit unions who worked quickly to ensure that small businesses in our state have unprecedented access to the funding necessary to come back stronger than ever when it is safe to do so.”


This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on May 13, 2020.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Update

Sections of the Economy Slowing Reopening

On May 13, Governor Whitmer was joined by Maureen Francis, President of the Michigan Realtors Association and Rachel Lutz, owner of the Detroit small business The Peacock Room, to talk about how certain sectors of the economy are re-engaging safely. As Michigan begins to work towards the different phases of the governor’s 6 phase MI Safe Start Plan, the governor will continue to work with partners in health care, labor, education, and business to continue to ensure the necessary measures are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. To watch the governor’s full update, click here.

Governor Interview

The governor also joined The View yesterday to talk about Michigan’s ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. She spoke about the unique situation here in the state and her executive actions which have to flatten the curve and saved lives. Watch her discussion here.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 370 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 48,391.

Happening Across State Government

  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced several new initiatives yesterday designed to help support the COVID-19 economic recovery efforts of small businesses and traditional downtowns throughout the state. As efforts begin to re-engage Michigan’s economy under the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan, these initiatives will pair successful crowdfunding efforts with a financial match from the MEDC; an expansion of the Match on Main program to support recovery efforts of small businesses through grants to local units of government, downtown development authorities, or other downtown management organizations; and a new website offering resources, strategies, and assets for downtowns and communities as they plan for their re-openings following the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Yesterday, the Unemployment Insurance Agency provided an update on unemployment claims related to COVID-19 in Michigan. Since March 15 at the onset of the crisis, 1,717,555 claimants have applied for state and federal benefits, with $5.62 billion in benefits paid to 1,374,751 of workers. Roughly 92% of eligible claimants have received benefits or have been approved to receive benefits.
    • Michigan has been a leader among states in processing claims and removing barriers to providing benefits. This includes Governor Whitmer’s recent executive order sweeping more than 100,000 non-monetary issues off of accounts, accelerating payments to individuals.

“While we appear to be outpacing most other states in paying benefits and processing claims, our focus remains on helping those who still need one on one assistance to receive benefits,” said Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “No one will lose a dollar of benefit they are eligible for and we will not rest until everyone gets the benefits they deserve.”

  • Although Michiganders are proud of their beautiful state, Pure Michigan reminded people to do their part and Stay Safer at Home. We are all united in our effort to combat COVID-19 and until we are able to explore safety again they reminded us all that we are all #ONEPureMichigan.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 11 p.m. on May 12, 2020.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 Update

Protecting Michiganders

University of Michigan Law School professor, Barbara McQuade detailed how Governor Whitmer has used her executive powers to fight COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of Michiganders while respecting the values with which this country was founded on. Read more below:

The Detroit News: Opinion: Governor’s action to save lives has been swift, lawful
https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2020/05/12/opinion-governors-action-save-lives-has-been-swift-lawful/3107893001/
BY: BARBARA MCQUADE

For the past eight weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has carefully exercised her emergency powers under the law to protect the people of Michigan and save lives. She has taken swift, decisive action to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent hospitals from exceeding capacity, responding nimbly to ever-shifting circumstances.

Republican lawmakers have filed lawsuits challenging Whitmer’s emergency orders. These lawsuits lack merit and seem designed more to score political points than to achieve legal remedies.

Laws enacted in 1945 and 1976 empower Michigan’s governor to declare an emergency and to issue orders that are reasonably necessary to protect life and property. As a federal prosecutor during the Engler, Granholm and Snyder administrations, I participated in statewide crisis response exercises, and saw how important it was for a governor to be empowered to act quickly during an emergency.

To ensure timely action during a crisis, lawmakers delegated these powers to the executive branch, rather than the Legislature, where the political process can slow things down.

Whitmer has made full use of these powers. Since COVID-19 was first discovered in Michigan, she has made tough choices to shutter school buildings, close places of public accommodation and ban public gatherings. These orders were needed to protect lives, and are in line with actions taken by Republican and Democratic governors in neighboring states.

And yet, Republican legislators have now filed lawsuits challenging the powers enacted by their own body. Legal claims vary from frivolous to weak. According to the 1945 law, the Legislature intended to give the governor “broad power of action” during a crisis. In light of this expansive scope, the Michigan Court of Claims has already rejected one effort by private parties to overturn Whitmer’s orders. The other cases seem destined for similar outcomes.

One argument is that Whitmer cannot extend the emergency orders beyond 28 days without the Legislature’s consent, which it has declined to give. My colleague at the University of Michigan Law School Richard Primus called this argument a “dead-up loser.”

That’s because only the 1976 law, which gave additional powers to the governor, requires consent. The 1976 law also says it does not “limit, modify, or abridge” the governor’s authority under the 1945 law, which gives her sole power to declare an emergency and issue orders. If the Legislature wants to change the law, it has the power to do so by a veto-proof majority. Until then, these powers belong to the governor.

Whitmer has used her emergency powers with care, limiting the duration of her orders and renewing them only as necessary. She has continuously respected constitutional rights, and has been guided by data and recommendations from experts. She has relaxed restrictions as the situation has evolved. This is exactly the kind of swift action our Legislature envisioned in 1945, a less partisan time, when it saw the wisdom of empowering a governor to protect the people who elected her.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 469 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 48,021.

Happening Across State Government

  • The Department of Insurance and Financial Services shared that more than 120 Michigan’s state-chartered banks and credit unions have stepped up to provide Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to support small businesses facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ninety percent of Michigan’s 68 state-chartered banks and nearly half of Michigan’s 137 state-chartered credit unions have participated in the PPP to support Michigan small businesses.

“Michigan’s small businesses and their employees should know that our administration will do everything within our power to support them during these challenging times,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said. “We are grateful for all of Michigan’s banks and credit unions who worked quickly to ensure that small businesses in our state have unprecedented access to the funding necessary to come back stronger than ever when it is safe to do so.”

  • The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved $1.2 billion in contracts to support American producers and communities in need through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. At least 10 Michigan suppliers were selected by USDA to help support the program, including Atlas Wholesale Food Company, Clemens Food Group, Coveyou Farms LLC, Del Bene Produce Inc., Eastern Market Corporation, Gordon Food Service, Heeren LLC (Michigan Fresh), LaGrasso Bros., Prairie Farms Dairy, and Van Eerden Foodservice.

“This is really great news,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Not only will these contracts help the awardees, but they’ll also help Michigan farmers—and, most importantly, they’ll help get fresh, nutritious food to individuals and families who really need it during this crisis. Michigan is proud to help support this vital program, and we thank USDA for recognizing the quality and capability of Michigan’s food and agriculture industry in this way.”


This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 11 p.m. on May 11, 2020.

Monday, May 11, 2020 Update

Stay Safer at Home Questions

Governor Whitmer held a press conference yesterday to address some frequently asked questions. From updates on the state’s unemployment system to social distance practices, she urged Michiganders to remain patient and diligent as we continue to Stay Safer at home.

The governor was joined by Michigan’s Chief Operations Officer Tricia Foster who gave an update on Michigan’s testing capacity. With the advice of public health experts, Michigan has rapidly expanded testing capacity to 15,000 tests per day, prioritizing vulnerable populations. Because of these efforts, Michigan currently ranks sixth in daily testing nationwide and is working every day with partners in business, health care, non-profits, and the federal government to meet the need of testing.

New Executive Orders

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-79, which lifts certain requirements of the application process for young Michiganders to obtain a work permit.

Young Michiganders constitute an important part of the summer workforce, especially because the COVID-19 pandemic requires that many workers stay home when experiencing symptoms or because they are part of a vulnerable population. As a result of the governor’s previous order to close schools for the remainder of the school year, obtaining the proper documentation from school personnel is difficult and therefore it is necessary to lift requirements to ensure youth can obtain summer work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Michigan’s young people are an essential part of the state’s workforce, and making sure they have an opportunity to acquire the proper permit and help fight COVID-19 is vital,” said Gov. Whitmer. “This executive order will lift some requirements to ensure those opportunities for them.”

She also signed Executive Orders 2020-80 and 2020-81. Executive Order 2020-80 continues to permit the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, Unemployment Insurance Agency, and other administrative hearings to be held by video conference or phone in place of in-person hearings. The order also temporarily allows e-signatures in place of written signatures on related documents.

“By extending this Executive Order, we help ensure Michigan can continue to flatten the curve while allowing certain agencies and commissions to conduct their important work remotely during this ongoing crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “I continue to urge all Michiganders to work together and do their part so we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of everyone in our state.”

Executive Order 2020-81 extends provisions lifting state and local non-seasonal load restrictions, as well as other restrictions on the timing and loading of deliveries, for deliveries that meet immediate needs for medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19, as well as other critical supplies, equipment, and personnel.

“While we have seen signs for cautious optimism over the past couple of weeks, we are not out of the woods yet. We still need essential supplies to be delivered all across the state,” said Governor Whitmer. “By extending this executive order, we can ensure people have the supplies need to slow the spread of the virus and protect as many Michiganders as possible.“

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 414 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 47,552.

Happening Across State Government

  • After the governor issued Executive Order 202-77 to require manufacturing facilities to adopt measures to protect their workers from the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity continues to share information to ensure industries are aware and able to protect returning workers.
  • Michigan is still working hard to make sure everyone is counted for the 2020 Census. Yesterday, the Michigan Census shared that Michigan is tied for the fourth-highest response rate in the country. The Michigan Complete County Committee is working every day to encourage and ensure every Michigander can #BeCounted.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on May 4, 2020.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 Update

Update to Stay Home, Stay Safe Order

Governor Whitmer held a press conference yesterday to give Michiganders an update on what the state has done so far to fight COVID-19 as well as her plans on how to re-engage Michigan’s economy while keeping people safe and healthy. She also announced that she extended Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. The governor’s order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11 as part of her MI Safe Start Plan.

“This is good news for our state, our businesses, and our working families,” said Governor Whitmer. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly. As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, I will keep working around the clock to ensure our businesses adopt best practices to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19. When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”

During her update, the governor outlined 6 stages of the MI Safe Start plan to safely re-engage Michigan’s economy that she developed alongside leaders in health care, business, labor, and education. Michigan is currently in stage 3 and, in order to move to the next step, Michiganders must continue to do their part to mitigate the spread of the virus.

  1. UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.
  2. PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.
  3. FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.
  4. IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are clearly declining.
  5. CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements with outbreaks quickly contained.
  6. POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return.

“I am working closely with health care experts and epidemiologists to closely monitor Michigan’s progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “As we move forward with the MI Safe Start Plan, I am working closely with partners in business, labor, and education to determine the best way to move forward each day. All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again. We’ve already reopened lower-risk sectors like construction, manufacturing, and lawn care.”

Expanded Testing

Michigan continues to expand testing every day to ensure we are making smart and informed decisions about the next steps in responding to COVID-19. Yesterday, Kroger Health announced that they are opening a free COVID-19 drive-thru testing site for patients in the Grand Blanc area.

“Testing remains critical in our state and can save lives. We must keep working to expand testing and require people who test positive to self-isolate,” said Governor Whitmer. “Moving forward, The State of Michigan will continue to work with health care partners, like Kroger Health, to provide affordable and quick testing to residents. And as always, I will continue to listen to the experts and follow the medical sciences as we continue to fight COVID-19.”

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 592 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 45,646.

Happening Across State Government

  • MDHHS and the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) teamed up to launch a new portal on Pure Michigan Talent Connect, the state’s labor exchange system, that makes it easier for health care professionals to apply for jobs that provide lifesaving care to COVID-19 patients.

The COVID-19 health care jobs portal features more than 7,000 openings for a variety of positions, including registered nurses and licensed professional nurses, certified nurse aides, licensed professional nurses, respiratory therapists at long-term care facilities, hospitals, and in other settings. There are full-time, part-time, and temporary positions available.

  • MDHHS shared an impactful video of a doctor from Detroit urging people to stay home. MDHHS is working every day to fight COVID-19 but in order to slow the spread of this virus and save lives, Michiganders need to do their part to Stay Safer at Home.
  • Yesterday, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that food and agriculture companies are now eligible for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance programs. Qualified Michigan food and agriculture businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have fewer than 500 employees, are encouraged to prepare their business financial information and apply.

“This is the first time agricultural producers are eligible for the programs, and it couldn’t come at a more critical moment for Michigan’s food and agriculture industry,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Across the country, we are seeing fractures in the food supply chain, and we need every resource available to help weather this storm. We urge every qualified food and agriculture business in Michigan to take advantage of these programs, not only for their own businesses but also for the food security of the entire state.”


This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on May 4, 2020.

Monday, May 4, 2020 Update

Safety During Elections

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer was joined by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to talk about the efforts the state is taking to protect Michiganders for the elections happening throughout the state today.

The governor also spoke about her Executive Directive 2020-5 which created the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability within the State Budget Office. The Accountability Office will provide oversight of all spending to address this crisis, and must report regularly on its work to the governor and the state budget director.

“Protecting the people of Michigan and lowering the chance of a second wave has demanded flexibility and decisiveness, and has also required funds from the state treasury, philanthropic sources, and the federal government,” said Governor Whitmer. “Michiganders have the right to expect that state government will be responsible stewards of their resources, especially in a time of crisis. I will continue to work around the clock to ensure these resources are spent wisely, in compliance with the law, and in a transparent and accountable manner.”

Restaurant Relief

Governor Whitmer also announced yesterday that more than $3.3 million in financial relief will be going to 657 bar and restaurant owners across the state – a financial lifeline averaging over $5,000 for hard-hit hospitality businesses. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is the administrator of the governor’s spirits buyback program.

“I know the financial losses have been incredibly devastating to business owners in the hospitality industry during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am pleased that through this innovative program, we can provide much-needed cash to hundreds of Michigan’s bars and restaurants that are struggling right now, to help tide them over until they’re open for business again.”

Teachers’ Appreciation Week

Governor Whitmer also took the time to thank Michigan’s incredible teachers during teacher appreciation week. Even though these difficult times, teachers across the state have stepped up to continue to educate their students. At her press conference yesterday, the governor encouraged people who know those who are working as a teacher, nurse, or corrections officer to reach out and thank them as this week is not only teacher appreciation week but Michigan nurses week and corrections officers week.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to:

Happening Across State Government

  • MDHHS stands with mental health advocates and organizations in recognizing May as Mental Health Month. Observed nationally since 1949 and traditionally symbolized by a green ribbon, the mental health awareness effort sets a goal to combat stigma and provide support and education on matters pertaining to mental illness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be brought on by mental illness, in the hopes of further development of suicide prevention strategies.

During the COVID-19 crisis, mental health is increasingly becoming a focus of attention. In response, information about available mental health resources can be found through the state’s Stay Home, Stay Well initiative. These efforts are to help build resilience in Michigan residents trying to cope emotionally with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and include links to crisis help lines, guidance documents, videos and other mental health resources at Michigan.gov/StayWell.

  • In response to Executive Order 2020-17, MDHHS issued guidelines to share with providers to address questions about how patients can be served safely during this time.

    “The Executive Order gives providers broad discretion,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive at MDHHS. “I applaud our frontline health care providers who put their lives at risk, and who are engaged in efforts to continue to care for their patients in the safest way possible. The guidelines should assist in determining the best way to treat patients without delaying needed medical services.”

    • The recommendations include:
      • Limiting in-person contact as much as possible, and implementing best practices for infection prevention and control, such as maximizing the use of telehealth, eliminating waiting room times, requiring patients to wear masks, and more.
      • Prioritizing in-person patient interactions and face-to-face appointments for the most vulnerable patients, and for necessary services like immunizations.
      • Reassuring patients of appropriate safety measures such as expanded testing and PPE.
      • Assuring appropriate surge capacity and developing emergency plans including how to gradually start doing more procedures, conserving PPE, and ensuring adequate supplies and staffing.
  • Michigan businesses have continued to step up every day to help respond to COVID-19. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation highlighted the work Barber Packaging has done through connections made through the Pure Michigan Business Connect.

This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on May 3, 2020.

Sunday, May 3, 2020 Update

New Executive Order

Friday, Governor Whitmer provided another update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She announced that Michigan would begin to re-engage certain sectors of the economy that the data has deemed lower-risk. With the support of leaders in health care, business, and labor, she announced that she signed Executive Order 2020-70 as part of the MI Safe Start plan. The executive order will allow the May 7 resumption construction, real-estate activities, and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors.

“The vast majority of Michiganders are still doing their part to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. That’s good, but we must keep it up,” said Governor Whitmer. “As part of our MI Safe Start Plan, we are bringing business and labor leaders together to ensure that while we lift some restrictions on the previous Stay Home, Stay Safe order, we are also protecting workers and their families from the spread of this virus. I want to be clear: we must all continue to stay home and stay safe as much as possible. If we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”

“We are grateful for the governor’s commitment to protecting working people and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Pat Devlin, Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. “Our dedicated building tradesmen and women are ready to get back to work, and we’re glad the governor has taken steps today to help ensure their safety. We are excited to continue working with Governor Whitmer as she continues to take action on behalf of working families.”

FEMA Approval

The governor announced Michigan has received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide housing alternatives such as hotels and motels for homeless individuals who may need to quarantine in response to or are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

“We must do everything in our power to protect our most vulnerable populations during this ongoing public health crisis, and that includes protecting the health and safety of homeless Michiganders, no matter their circumstances,” Governor Whitmer said. “These resources will help shield homeless Michiganders most susceptible to the virus.”

Meet the Press Interview

Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun has been working alongside Governor Whitmer to ensure every decision the governor’s administration makes is guided by the best science and medical advice to save as many lives as possible from COVID-19. Yesterday, she sat down on Meet the Press to talk about how Michigan has experienced and dealt with the virus.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 547 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 43,754.

Happening Across State Government

  • Last week, Michigan was approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for nearly $390 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. The Michigan Department of Education announced the $13.2 billion ESSER fund which provides emergency relief funds to address the impact that the COVID-19 public health crisis has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the United States. ESSER funding was included as part of the $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“These are vitally important resources to help our schools reduce the strain caused by this global pandemic,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Schools can use the funds to meet a variety of current educational needs, but must recognize that these funds are one-time revenues.”

  • Getting crisis mental health support is now as simple as sending a text to a new service that was launched Friday by the MDHHS as part of its Stay Home, Stay Well initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trained counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to texts from Michigan residents who are facing a mental health crisis — everything from anxiety and financial issues to suicide and domestic violence. While the text line is starting during the pandemic, MDHHS intends to continue offering the service in the future. By texting the keyword RESTORE to 741741, Michigan residents can have a confidential text conversation with a crisis counselor.

  • Beginning Monday at the Baraga Correctional Facility, medical specialists from the Michigan National Guard will assist the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) staff in testing every prisoner at the facility. After Baraga, the guard members will then move east across the U.P. with the goal of testing one facility each day. The facilities being tested include Alger Correctional Facility, Marquette Branch Prison, Newberry Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility, and Kinross Correctional Facility. All prisoners will be tested, totaling about 7,500 prisoners.

“The medical professionals of the Michigan National Guard are proud to assist with COVID-19 testing in the Upper Peninsula,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “We are community members and neighbors, and we always ready to assist in the fight against COVID-19.”

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