On Monday, the Washtenaw County Health Department announced a set of public health orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the area. The orders come after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had no authority to extend the state’s emergency orders past April 30.

In a statement, Whitmer expressed her disappointment at the Supreme Court’s ruling, highlighting the fact that the virus has killed more Michiganders than WWI. She also mentioned that her current order has 21 days until it expires and that the current provisions are in place to decrease the number of COVID-19 cases in the state. 

“I know this is hard,” Whitmer said. “We all want this crisis to be over, and we all want life to return to normal as soon as possible. But the only way we will get through this is by pulling together as Americans and working as one nation to defeat this virus. That means wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently and maintaining six feet of physical distancing. Michiganders have grit, and there is no challenge we can’t meet.”

In Washtenaw County, there have been 3,549 cases reported and it is currently at the second-highest risk level for daily cases per million people. 

The University of Michigan also just triggered a metric — seeing more than 70 cases per million in the county — for reevaluating campus operations. 

The provisions set forth by the Washtenaw County Health Department mandate the use of face coverings in public space and say that community members must remain six feet apart. The public health guidance also limits the number of people at social gatherings and says bars and restaurants can only open to 50 percent capacity. 

In a press release by the Washtenaw County Health Department, Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County, discussed the importance such regulations have in halting the spread of COVID-19. She said the orders put in place locally will continue to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the area. 

“We must continue working together to reduce the spread of illness and protect everyone’s health,” Loveluck said. “The pandemic is not over, and we must remain cautious — even as we work to resume as much normalcy as possible as safely as possible.”

Daily Staff Reporter Julia Forrest can be reached at juforres@umich.edu.

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