(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer provided an update on the state's response to COVID-19.
Restaurants, casinos, movie theatres, gyms and more will remain closed through at least May 28 under a new executive order signed by Whitmer on Thursday night.
Health officials add that with testing, the state is now able to test almost 15,000 people per day, which is significantly higher than the original limit of roughly 5,000 people a day.
There are now 30 labs across the state accepting tests, which aids in increasing the state's testing capacity amid the pandemic.
Whitmer says that Michigan has ramped up testing, along with tracing and the state's support capacity amid the virus. This has been made possible through partnerships with Rite Aid and CVS, as well as federal partnerships.
"Hard work has really paid off," the governor said. "Michigan is leading the country."
Whitmer says the state has a goal to test 450,000 people in the state in May, as Tuesday marks nine months since the virus hit Michigan.
Whitmer says the Department of Corrections has taken every measure to make sure people in jails are taken care of during the pandemic. She says 225 people have been paroled this week. Next week, she projects 273 to be paroled, for the following week, 253 are projected to be paroled, and the week after that, Whitmer says 303 are expected to be paroled, which is the highest amount paroled in one week.
Whitmer also added that the state of Michigan has tested more prisoners than any other state.
Whitmer said the UIA fund is better than other state's and they had the third-highest trust fund balance in the nation before the pandemic.
Whitmer said the number one question they've gotten is about the state unemployment system.
Whitmer said more than 1.1 million Michiganders have been approved with more than $4 billion in unemployment benefits paid out.
She said they are committed to making sure everyone who applies and is approved gets benefits.
She added that the state is near the top in benefits.
Whitmer said the Michigan Economic Recovery Council and the governor's office talked about when the state can open certain regions. There are eight regions in Michigan.
There is a chance, she said, some regions will re-engage at different paces than others.
She said the state needs to measure and build out the public health system.
Whitmer said Richard from Northern Michigan asked why regions with lower cases can't have less restrictions.
She said because one person with COVID-19 can infect tens and thousands in a matter of days.
Whitmer said she wanted to answer the top questions her office is getting from people across the state.
One question was if no one in the social circle is sick or has shown symptoms, why can't they get together?
Whitmer said the reason is because everyone responds to the virus differently and people may be carrying COVID-19 and not know it.
She said to make use of Zoom or Microsoft Teams or FaceTime to see your friends and stay connected, but do it at home.
Whitmer talks about the companies and people who are helping fight coronavirus in Michigan. Those include Mahindra Automotive, Axalta, Rihanna and more.
Whitmer honors Florence Coleman Owens, who died of COVID-19 at the age of 89 on April 14, one day before her 90th birthday.
Whitmer says the virus has devastated parts of Michigan and has come after families, friends and coworkers.
She said that we have to work to re-engage parts of our economy in a way that gets people back to work.
Whitmer said the data over the last couple of weeks is good for cautious optimism. She said that the number of people being tested goes up.
She added that the number of cases is the lowest percentage since the beginning of the crisis.
“Although we are beginning to see the curve flatten, we are not out of the woods yet. We must all continue to be diligent, observe social distancing and limit in-person interactions and services to slow the spread of COVID-19," Whitmer said in a release. “Michigan now has more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19. The virus has killed more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam war. Extending this order is vital to the health and safety of every Michigander. If we work together and do our part, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
The new order allowed manufacturing, including the Big 3 automakers, to resume work on Monday.
“This is good news for our state, our businesses, and our working families,” said Governor Whitmer in a news release. “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.”
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
See all of our Helping Each Other stories.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.