New COVID-19 case and death numbers continue to fall statewide, but health experts are warning that recent massive demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice could lead to an eventual surge in new cases.
The impact of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer may not be fully realized for several weeks, as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days.
Meanwhile, restaurants and bars across the Lower Peninsula were able to open their doors for sit-down service for the first time in nearly three months Monday, June 8.
Below is a look at a few recent developments in the coronavirus crisis in Michigan:
Black Lives Matter protests could spike coronavirus rates, Michigan experts say
Health experts in Michigan say widespread demonstrations could lead to a surge in new COVID-19 cases.
“If there’s a low-level background range (of virus at the protests), you could get enough people infected, and they all go home, or demonstrate other places,” Dr. Joel Fishbain, an infectious disease specialist for Beaumont Health in Metro Detroit, told MLive.
“And then all of a sudden you have this huge, tremendous spike.”
Protests were sparked nationwide by the May 25 death of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. The officer continued to press his knee to Floyd’s neck despite pleas from bystanders and Floyd himself, who appeared unconscious when the officer finally got up.
Since May 29, thousands have gathered in more than a dozen cities across the state to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Some cities have seen day-after-day protests drawing hundreds.
Petition language to recall Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approved by state board
Petition language to recall Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her executive orders addressing the COVID-19 pandemic was approved Monday, June 8, by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.
The group behind the petition, the Committee to Recall Governor Gretchen Whitmer, now must come up with more than 1 million signatures from registered voters in 60 days or less.
If the group is successful, a recall election will take place.
Among the executive orders at issue are the governor’s state of emergency declarations and those that called for the temporary suspension of business and activities not deemed essential to maintain or protect life.
Penalty for violating Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus safety guidelines isn’t legal, court rules
The Michigan Court of Claims recently deemed a portion of Whitmer’s June 5 order establishing coronavirus safety guidelines as a prerequisite to the opening of businesses “null and void.”
The portion of the order in question deals with the penalties businesses face for violating the reopening guidelines.
At issue is Whitmer increasing the possible penalties by up to $70,000 per infraction “within the meaning of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray ruled that penalties under the emergency laws that Whitmer used to create the June 5 order are limited to a misdemeanor, up to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine.
Murray went on to say that, if the infractions are also a violation under MIOSHA, then those penalties must be issued under that law.
Portions of the June 5 order unrelated to the penalty section remain enforceable, Murray said.
Michigan reports 129 new coronavirus cases, 17 new deaths
The number of new reported COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to fall in Michigan.
On Monday, state health officials reported 129 new confirmed cases and 17 new deaths, bringing the statewide total since mid-March to 58,999 known cases and 5,673 deaths linked to COVID-19.
A week ago, the state’s seven-day average of new cases per day was 379, and new deaths per day at 39. On Monday, that seven-day average was 210 new cases a day and 22 new deaths a day,
Dozens of Michigan’s 250 testing locations offer free testing, and individuals seeking a test no longer need a doctor’s note to get one.
To find a testing site near you, check out the state’s online test finder, here, send an email to [email protected], or call 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Detroit casinos to reopen at 15% capacity with mask requirement, smoking ban
While Detroit’s three casinos don’t yet have a green light to reopen, the state on Monday issued safety guidelines for how that will work once they do.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board’s safety guidelines issued Monday call for smoking to be banned throughout the gaming floor, only 15 percent of the maximum capacity allowed in, temperature checks of anyone entering the casinos and no poker rooms, self-serve buffets and beverage stations.
Patrons and employees are required to wear masks unless they are eating or drinking, and the casinos must provide employees and patrons with masks.
The guidelines do not extend to Michigan’s American Indian, tribal-run casinos. Many of those casinos, including Firekeepers in Battle Creek, Soaring Eagle in Mount Pleasant and Turtle Creek in Williamsburg have reopened with guidelines similar to those issued for the Detroit casinos.
COVID-19 PREVENTION TIPS
In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus.
Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible.
Use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, countertops) and carry hand sanitizer with you when you go into places like stores.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also issued an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings over their mouth and nose while inside enclosed, public spaces.
Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
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