WATCH: Gov. Whitmer provides update on coronavirus response

Posted at 11:09 AM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 18:27:42-04

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

Whitmer was joined by MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun for the update.

As of Friday, there are 4,825 deaths and 50,079 cases of coronavirus in Michigan.

Michigan also tested a record 23,647 people on May 13, nearly 10,000 more than the previous testing record set on May 12.

Whitmer started the press conference by putting up a photo of the Fox Theatre from the stage and said most of those empty seats represent someone who died from COVID-19 in the state as we approach 5,000 deaths.

She also talked quickly about the demonstration at the Capitol yesterday and thanked Michigan State Police for their work.

"Now is not a time for division or hatred. Now is the time to pull together," she said.

She was also joined on stage by faith leaders throughout the state from different religions for a unity prayer.

Whitmer talked about the settlement in the Detroit right to literacy lawsuit and what she plans for students throughout the state to create paths for literacy for children in Michigan.

She announced the creation of the Return to Learning Advisory Council to formalize a process for how schools may be able to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

The council will be comprised of students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials. They will provide the COVID-19 task force on education with recommendations on how to safely, equitably and efficiently return to school in the fall.

"This plan to return will align with the MI Safe Start plan and it will provide scenarios for what reopening school will look like and provide guidance to our school leaders," she said.

Michiganders can apply to serve on the council at

Whitmer talked about the expanded testing in Michigan and encouraged anyone with symptoms to go get tested right away. Widespread testing, she said, will help prevent more community spread.

The goal is to test 450,000 Michiganders in the month of May, Whitmer said, and that the state is seventh in the nation for testing.

According to Dr. Khaldun, their average over the last seven days is 14,200 tests per day, a 47% increase in the last week.

Khaldun said the rate of rise is slowing throughout the state, but they are closely watching several areas where there are outbreaks.

Khaldun also warned about children getting COVID-19 and they are on alert of reports of Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MISC) who has symptoms similar to Kawasaki Syndrome.

She urged people with medical issues or medical procedures to get taken care of, and that children should resume getting important vaccines.

"Please do not delay seeking important medical care," she said.

As we approach Memorial Day, Whitmer said she hopes people still wear their masks, social distance, and keep your guard up. Don't go out in big groups of people, she said.

Whitmer said under the school plan, local districts will determine when to start after the state says it's safe.

She also talked about sports and when they might return. She said that we can have sports, but how we observe them might be different for a little while. She said we need a vaccine and we have to have mass quantities available, or we need to test and find out if immunity is built up.

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.