Governor remains committed to keeping Michiganders safe and saving lives
Every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases over the past several weeks, and daily case counts in late July exceeded 50 cases per million statewide. Michigan’s statewide positivity rate has also increased, from a low of 2% in mid-June to 3.5% in late July. The increase in cases reflects a national trend: COVID-19 cases are growing or holding steady in 40 states and deaths from COVID-19 are increasing in most of those states as well. While cases in Michigan have increased since June, our numbers are below the national average, with roughly a 3.5% positivity rate in Michigan compared to 9% nationally, and considerably lower than surrounding states.
In addition to these challenges, many Michigan students will return to in-person instruction over the next month, increasing the risk of outbreaks. States that have reopened schools have already begun to see new cases—a second-grader in Cherokee County, Georgia, a middle schooler in Greenfield, Indiana, and a high schooler in Corinth, Mississippi, have already tested positive for COVID-19 having attended school in person, triggering quarantines in those districts.
Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-166 to reinstate protections for Michigan workers as the state continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor signed this order after the federal government allowed federal pandemic unemployment assistance for Americans who have lost work as a result of this virus to lapse at the end of July, putting pressure on more people to return to work, even if they’re sick. Under the Executive Order, the governor prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or retaliating against employees who make the responsible choice to stay home when they or their close contacts are sick.
“Since day one of this fight, I have urged people to do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19, and that includes staying home when you are sick. But after the federal government allowed pandemic unemployment assistance benefits to lapse at the end of July, more working people are feeling pressure to return to work so they can provide for themselves and their families, even if they’re sick,” said Governor Whitmer. “As we have reengaged sectors of our economy, and in turn put thousands of Michiganders back to work, it is still vital that employees feel empowered to make the right choice to say home if they, or someone they have been in contact with is sick. These protections will help to slow the spread of the virus and save lives, but we still need the federal government to work together in a bipartisan way to expand unemployment benefits and provide support for our workers and their families.”
Under Executive Order 2020-1, employers must treat employees who stay home when they are sick as if he or she were taking medical leave. Any and all Michiganders who test positive for COVID-19 or who display one or more of the principal symptoms, such as a fever, sore throat, a new uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe headache, and new loss of taste or smell should stay home. Individuals must remain home until 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without medication or 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared or were tested positive.
As a rule, if an individual has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or has had close contact with a confirmed positive case they should only leave their home for essential trips, to obtain food, medicine, or medical care. Additionally, they may leave to partake in an outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity consistent with remaining at least six feet from others.
To view Executive Order 2020-166, click the link below: