Gov. Whitmer, state legislators agree on additional $150 million to fight virus

Monday, March 30, 2020 - 11:15am

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces the additional $150 million in spending during a press conference on Monday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces the additional $150 million in spending during a press conference on Monday. Buy this photo
Courtesy Michigan Executive Office

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state legislative leaders jointly signed a bill on Monday that will allocate $150 million to state funding for the current fiscal year in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Whitmer released a statement about the funds, saying they will go toward sanitary and medical supplies to help workers slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Residents across the great state of Michigan need to know that the Executive and Legislative branches of state government are working together to do whatever is necessary to ensure an effective response to COVID-19,” the statement reads. “Today’s signing of two supplemental budget bills will provide new state funding of $150 million to bolster response efforts.”

According to the press release, Michigan has spent $130 million on 20 million masks, nearly 2,000 ventilators, 9 million ounces of hand sanitizer and 255,000 boxes of gloves, among other supplies. Whitmer said the increase in funding will expand the state’s access to essential medical resources.

“The additional funding provided today, along with the supplies and funding provided by the federal government, helps ensure that Michigan has the necessary resources to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19,” the statement reads.

The bill comes after Whitmer issued an executive order on March 23 for Michigan residents to stay at home and closed all non-essential businesses for the next three weeks. 

The Trump administration has criticized Whitmer for saying the federal government was not doing enough to assist states with the COVID-19 crisis. On Saturday, the White House approved Michigan’s emergency declaration request, allowing the federal government to assist in state efforts to bolster medical care.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Individuals are encouraged to practice social distancing and maintain a distance of at least six feet between one another to avoid transferring the virus, which is thought to spread through the respiratory droplets of those infected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wash their hands often and avoid touching their faces. Anyone who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call their primary care physician or reach out to the local health department, which in Washtenaw County can be reached at 734-544-6700.

Daily Staff Reporter Jasmin Lee can be reached at itsshlee@umich.edu.