Michigan’s making big strides when it comes to tackling the COVID-19 virus as the state’s numbers balloon to over 640,000 cases and over 16,400 deaths, according to reports.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke recently this week about continued efforts to slow the spread of the virus and ramp up vaccination efforts during a press conference, which included discussions on in-person learning and the state’s commitment to keeping Michigan safely moving forward.
Over 2 million residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine to date “keeping us on track to reach our goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up,” Whitmer said.
“My administration will continue working closely with the Biden administration to help us ramp up our supply so we can return to the normalcy we all crave as soon as possible,” she said. “I want to thank our tireless frontline health care workers who are working around the clock to administer these life-saving shots so people can get back to work and our kids can get back to in-person learning.”
She also called on the Michigan Legislature to pass the MI COVID Recovery Plan, which allocates federal funds to boost state vaccination efforts and expand testing and lab capacity.
“Ending this pandemic requires us to utilize every resource we have, and every day we do not pass this plan we are leaving billions on the table. This is an incredible milestone, but we still have a lot of work to do. Let’s get to it,” she said.
Currently, 85% of school districts are back in school, according to reports — nearly 100% of school districts are expected to be back in in-person learning by next Monday, March 1.
Whitmer added that in-person learning is critical and while some students have been successful with distance learning, “far too many have struggled.”
“There have been disheartening impacts on our children’s mental and physical health since their lives were upended in March,” she said. “The transition to remote learning during this pandemic has exacerbated existing equity gaps statewide that we have worked to narrow.”
Also, according to a survey released by the Michigan Education Association, two-thirds of educators have already received one or both of their shots or made an appointment to get their first one.
“Michigan’s extraordinary educators are fiercely dedicated to their students, and our equitable vaccine rollout that prioritizes them is going a long way towards helping our kids go back to school. It’s time for us to come together and get it done,” Whitmer said.
This week, Whitmer also traveled to a vaccination clinic in Garden City to see firsthand the collaboration and work being done to achieve the governor’s goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders.
“As I travel across the state, I am continually impressed with the partnerships happening at these vaccination sites. Our frontline health care workers and the women and men of the Michigan National Guard are all playing a vital role in eradicating this virus once and for all,” said Whitmer. “I know this past year has been difficult, but seeing this important work in action provides hope that we come out of this stronger. Until then I urge everyone to continue to mask up, socially distance, and wash our hands.”
The governor visited Garden City Hospital in State Rep. Jewell Jones’s district alongside Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Garden City Mayor Randy Walker to observe the partnership between the county health department, Garden City Hospital, and the Michigan National Guard.
To view the PowerPoint presentation that the governor used during the press conference, click here.