Gov. Whitmer talks COVID-19, Oxford shooting and looks ahead to 2022

Posted at 8:01 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 20:03:03-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined 7 UpFront on Thursday to discuss COVID-19, the shooting at Oxford High School and gun safety as the year comes to an end.

As of Thursday, Michigan has four confirmed cases of the omicron variant, with the latest one in Washtenaw County. Data suggests omicron is more contagious than the delta variant .

Whitmer says it’s important to take every precaution.

“We know that our doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists have been breaking their backs to take care of people in the state,” she said. “They are exhausted and yet, we are seeing our hospitals fill up with unvaccinated Michiganders who are getting COVID.”

Whitmer is reminding and encouraging people who aren’t yet vaccinated to do so. She’s also urging those who haven’t gotten a booster to schedule an appointment.

“That is the best way to stay safe as we see omicron spreading across the country,” Whitmer said.

Though coronavirus cases are down in the state slightly this week, the hospital numbers are among the highest in the nation, which Whitmer finds concerning.

“Our workforce and our hospitals, they are exhausted. And they show up every day and they take care of us. We can support them by getting vaccinated and staying out of the hospital,” Whitmer said.

She says those who contract COVID-19 should consider monoclonal antibodies to prevent a trip to the hospital.

“The more unvaccinated people who are getting COVID and landing in the hospital threatens all of us because if you’re in a car accident, you want to know that the people at the hospital can care for you and that there’s going to be a bed for you, and right now, that’s just not the case.”

In regards to the tragic shooting at Oxford High School, Whitmer said the last few weeks have been the toughest since she’s taken office.

“.. because consoling and showing up, supporting families in the community that is hurting so badly from this horrific scene that played out in Oxford three weeks ago is so sad, it’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” Whitmer said. “I think we in this country have got a unique problem, it’s a uniquely an American problem where schools are not safe places because of mass shootings.”

She said we owe it to kids and schools to do better. There are talks in the Legislature to move policies on securing firearms, Whitmer said.

“I’m eager to have that conversation and I’ll be a willing partner and I’m hoping the Legislature will as well,” she said. “I’m not interested in everyone going in their political corners and digging in, I’m interested in solving problems and that’s the spirit in which I’ll go to the table.”

As the years wraps up and 2022 approaches, Whitmer will be up for reelection. She says Michiganders have found common ground and she hopes those strides continue in the new year.