Whitmer talks governors meeting with Pence, says Michigan state of emergency will extend

Whitmer cropped
Posted at 10:57 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 18:49:04-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provided another update on the state's response to coronavirus on Monday afternoon.

Watch it below.

**Editor's note: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that the governor said she will extend the stay-at-home order. We have updated the article with the correct information.**

Whitmer announced that she would be taking a 10% pay cut as the state deals with the budget problems created by the coronavirus pandemic, and she also asked her senior executive staff to take a 5% pay cut.

During the press conference, she also talked about personal protective equipment being donated to hospitals around Michigan and how there will soon be more tracing from coronavirus patients as more people are being trained.

As of Monday, there are 2,468 deaths and 32,000 cases cases of coronavirus in Michigan.

She said the curve appears to be flattening and the stay-at-home order is working, as "states without stay-at-home orders are seeing exponential increases (in COVID-19 cases) still."

She also added that living in a rural part of the state doesn't mean you're safe from coronavirus.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist also spoke about the creation of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, as a disproportionate number of minorities, particularly African Americans, have been affected by the deadly virus.

Whitmer said during the question and answer portion of the press conference that the state of emergency order will likely be extended.

The governor also cleared up what she referred to as "confusion" surrounding the state of emergency and the stay at home order, which are both set to end on May 1.

The state of emergency, as it relates to the coronavirus, helps to extend protections for frontline workers, and allows the governor powers to take unusual actions to protect people.

Whitmer went on to say that the state of emergency will and should last longer. Although she did not specify whether she will extend the stay-at-home order, she said life will not immediately resume normally; it will roll out in phases. She also said she would like to see support from across the aisle.

Whitmer also discussed how a call with Vice President Mike Pence went with governors across the nation. She said during the call, governors voiced their desire for flexibility with funds coming to the state to determine a best use for those dollars.

The lack of critical supplies in each state was also discussed, she said. All governors also agreed that. what's most needed now is robust testing of the virus because at this time testing is still limited to high risk patients or frontline workers.

The one question Whitmer said she asked the vice president is that at the federal level, could they echo each state's call on the stay-at-home order to citizens to further push the order's importance.

Whitmer said Pence conveyed that that was something they'll do.

A cumulative total of 3,237 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Michigan, as of April 17, according to state officials.

Michigan ranks fifth in the country in the number of cases behind New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and third in the country in deaths behind New York and New Jersey.

On Monday morning, Michigan House Republicans unveiled their plan to reopen Michigan, which is a 3-tier plan. You can read more about it here.

Whitmer also signed an executive order creating the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities.

According to new numbers released on Monday afternoon, 40% of the deaths from COVID-19 are African Americans in Michigan, despite African Americans making up 13.6% of the state's population.

The governor's office said that the task force will work in an advisory capacity and study the causes of racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19 and recommend actions to address those disparities.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

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.