Whitmer ‘disappointed’ by protestors, but says precaution measures are working

By Scott McClallen | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer updated Michigan on the novel coronavirus Wednesday hours after thousands of protestors jammed the Capitol to protest her executive order.

“This is a hard time. But the good news is that the vast majority of people in our state are doing the right thing. And it’s pushing the curve down. It’s working,” Whitmer said. “It’s saving lives.”

As of Wednesday, the state reported 28,059 cases of COVID-19 and 1,921 deaths.

Whitmer said that Novi-based Suburban Showplace Alternate Care Site planned for 1,000 beds. They’ve revised that now to 250 beds.

Whitmer highlighted private businesses stepping up to help Michigan. Hyundai Motor America donated $100,000 to the city of Detroit and 10,000 COVID-19 test kits.

In total, over 3.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment have been donated by people and businesses, Whitmer said.

Dow is donating 28 metric tons of hand sanitizer to groups near the Great Lakes Bay Region, and an additional $500,000 donation to the community foundation in Saginaw, Bay, Midland, and Isabella Counties.

“We’re all on the same team, and we’re Michiganders first,” Whitmer said.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun warned that a few days of data doesn’t mean the state should ease social distancing measures.

“A plateau does not mean that we’re out of the woods,” she said.

Whitmer said engaging businesses too soon “will lead to a second wave of COVID-19 in Michigan.”

However, Whitmer encouraged business owners to plan how they will eventually get back to work to provide a safe workplace.

“I can’t predict what things are going to look like next week, much less two weeks from now,” Whitmer said, referencing the end date of her stay-at-home order.

Addressing the thousands of people who protested at the Capitol Wednesday, Whitmer said she was “disappointed” that many closely congregated together and didn’t wear masks.

“That’s how COVID-19 spreads,” she said. “The sad irony here is that the protest was that they don’t like being in this stay home order and they may have just created a need to lengthen it, which is something that we’re trying to avoid at all costs.”

Whitmer said she saw a number of posts that protestors blocked an ambulance from getting into Sparrow Hospital.

As of 1:34 p.m. Wednesday those posts weren’t accurate, Crain’s Detroit Senior Editor Chad Livengood tweeted.

Sparrow spokesperson John Foren also told WLNS that ambulances can “get in and out. There’s no problem.”