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State health director speaks on COVID-19 surge and limits on Tigers baseball

Posted at 5:47 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 20:29:47-04

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Health Director Elizabeth Hertel says no new COVID restrictions are planned for now, but they are closely watching a surge in COVID cases.

She says hospitals, for them, are the tipping point.

“We know that hospitalizations are increasing," Hertel said. "But the number of individuals who are receiving critical care is lower than it had been previously. And people seem to be moving through the hospitals more quickly."

When pressed by reporters, she would only repeat talking points saying, “Again, we loosened our restrictions on March 5. We continue to watch and get these vaccines in arms and we will continue to see where we got.”

Hertel was in Macomb County for the opening of the third drive-through COVID vaccination site. It is located in the parking lot of Lakeside Mall on Hall Road in Sterling Heights. The first site opened in Richmond. A third site opens April 8 in Warren.

Appointments are needed and can be made at macombgov.org.

Detroit Tigers baseball opening day is Thursday. The Administration of Gov. Whitmer had originally set a limit of 1,000 fans inside Comerica Park. Then with Hertel, they increased it to 8,200 fans or 20% capacity.

We asked Hertel why that number and she said, “We need to remember that people are coming in and leaving, not just sitting in their place, and so being conscientious how that works and how that crowd control occurs so that people can maintain distance.”

Right down the street from the ballpark are the three Detroit casinos that are allowed to have more than double that percentage, 50% capacity indoors which Hertel concedes is not as safe.

“We know that outdoor spaces are less risky," she said. "I think we’ll see how opening day goes tomorrow and we continue to learn best practices as we move forward. Thank you.”

She was done answering and handed over the mic. But on her way leaving the event we pressed for when this might be revised and she would only say walking away, “I’m always reviewing every day.”