All COVID-19 epidemic orders on gatherings and masks will come to an end early next week, 10 days ahead of schedule, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.
Beginning Tuesday, both indoor and outdoor settings may increase capacity back to 100% and residents will no longer be required to wear a face mask.
Whitmer said the early end of state-issued restrictions comes as COVID-19 cases continue to decline and vaccination rates continue to rise. On Thursday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS ) reported just 172 daily new cases.
“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer said. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the front lines to keep us all safe. And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving.
“Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of schedule,” Whitmer continued. She added that a top priority of her administration moving forward is to put federal relief funds toward jumpstarting Michigan’s economy and helping families, small businesses and communities heal from the pandemic.
Over the past several weeks, Michigan’s case rates, percent positivity and hospitalizations have all decreased, with just a 1.9% positivity rate over the last seven days.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, said the progress is great news but “there is more work to be done” as several COVID-19 variants have been identified in Michigan.
“We can’t let our guard down as there continue to be several variants of the COVID-19 virus circulating in our state, including the concerning Delta variant. The COVID-19 vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of the virus and I urge everyone ages 12 and up who has not yet received their vaccine to get it as soon as possible,” Khaldun said.
Some epidemic orders will remain in place for corrections, long-term care and agriculture settings to protect vulnerable populations. Reporting requirements and COVID-19 testing measures will also remain in effect.
Whitmer’s office said updated guidance for schools will be released next week.
The DHHS reported Thursday that a total of 893,002 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 19,598 have died from the virus — an additional 172 cases and 20 deaths since Wednesday.
The state notes that 18 deaths added to the overall total on Thursday come from the most recent review of vital records and testing data. This means that those individuals had already died, but are just now being flagged by the state as official COVID-19 deaths. The DHHS conducts this review process three times per week.
DHHS also reports that an additional 104,991 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 1,250 probable deaths. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5, 2020.
Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 997,993 statewide cases and 20,848 deaths.
The virus has been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate is currently at 2.2%.
As of Friday, 852,204 people have recovered from COVID-19, according to the state.
The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10, 2020. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.
Johns Hopkins University reports that there are more than 177.1 million confirmed cases worldwide and 3.8 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as more than 33.5 million confirmed cases and 600,833 deaths have been recorded nationally.