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State health department closes some businesses, schools, requires work at home when possible

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: November 16, 2020


Record COVID-19 cases drive three-week closures

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an epidemic order for three-weeks closing in person learning in some schools, some businesses, including indoor dining, and put in place a work from home order effective Nov. 18.

The temporary closures include no dine-in service for bars and restaurants; no in-person learning for high schools and colleges; and no organized sports except professional sports or college sports with high standards for COVID-19 mitigation, and no spectators. Schools can individually determine whether they would like to shift more students to remote learning. Most K-12 cases are at the high school level (49 percent), said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, and those students typically have an easier time learning online with no need for childcare.

Residential indoor gatherings are limited to two households at any one time, with MDHHS strongly urging families to pick a single other household to interact with over the next three weeks.  All businesses are required to allow individuals who can work from home to do so.

The order calls for the temporary closure of some businesses including: theaters, movie theaters, bowling alleys, ice skating rinks, indoor water parks, arcades, bingo halls, casinos, group fitness classes, stadiums and arenas.

COVID-19 cases climbed to a record-setting 44,019 with 416 deaths in the past seven days in Michigan. Dr. Khaldun said models predict 20,000 additional deaths by Feb. 15 on the current course. The state’s current death total is just under 8,000.

The state’s positivity rate of cases has risen to 12.5% average. “Let me be clear, the entire state is seeing an alarming increase,” Khaldun said, adding several hospitals are close to reaching capacity.

Whitmer called on residents to keep Thanksgiving gatherings to only members of their household. “As hard as it is not seeing them this Thanksgiving, imagine how much harder it would be if you couldn’t see them at a future holiday ever again,” Whitmer said.

For more details on the MDHHS three-week epidemic order, please click on the links below.


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