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Whitmer says COVID-19 fight could take months, not weeks

Gretchen Whitmer
Posted at 4:16 PM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 16:22:11-04

(WXYZ) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says great efforts are being made to stop the spread of coronavirus here in the state but she needs Michiganders to practice social distancing and stay home if they can.

RELATED: TCF Center to hold 900 patient beds as alternative care facility

The governor also spoke about what to expect for the rest of the school year, and why the fight against COVID-19 is something that could take months — not weeks.

We are all soldiers in a war whether we like it or not, and the enemy is COVID-19. And Michigan’s battleground is expected to get worse before it gets better.

“It’s important that we all understand the severity of the situation,” Whitmer said.

That’s why social distancing and the stay-at-home order is something she wants Michiganders to adhere to.

Cases in Michigan continue to rise with President Donald Trump approving the state’s disaster declaration. This comes after a war of words on Twitter where he referred to Gov. Whitmer to as "the woman from Michigan," sparking a hashtag on Twitter.

But with a disaster declared in Michigan, the governor hopes more tests and personal protection equipment will be available.

“(We're) working every angle we can, even with this infusion of N-95 masks that we received yesterday," Whitmer said. "We are going to through that quickly with the way that these cases are presenting and that’s why we cannot slow down in terms of our efforts to try to get more masks, more gowns, more gloves.”

Whitmer has been working closely with Vice President Mike Pence and says he has been engaged with the situation in Detroit and throughout Michigan.

One of the questions on many minds though is whether kids are going to finish the school year?

Whitmer as hinted that it’s not likely kids will be going back to class, but a firm decision is expected in the next week or so.

“It might not be safe to go back to school we got to have a plan that is equitable that meets the needs of kids across our state," she said. "That can be very different.”

And with the news of the North American International Auto Show canceled because FEMA is using the TCF Center as a field hospital, the governor says it’s a smart call because the pandemic could take months to clear.

“Even if we are coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, we have to be smart about how we congregate again,” Whitmer said.

Right now the stay at home order is set to expire on April 13, but the governor says she will likely be extending that.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

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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.

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See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.