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Whitmer downgrades U.P. after sharp increase in COVID-19 cases

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is moving the Upper Peninsula back to Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan.

Whitmer downgraded the U.P.'s category after a surge of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. It is the first region in the state to move backwards.

"I know this is hard. I know it will be an adjustment. But we can’t let our guard down,” Whitmer said in a press release. “COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our families, frontline workers, and small businesses. Everyone should implement these changes as swiftly as possible. This virus doesn't care if you're rich or poor, a Republican or a Democrat, young or old. No one is immune. Right now the most effective weapon we have is pretty simple: it's wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth. It's washing your hands with soap and water. And maintaining six feet of physical distance from one another. Let’s all be smart and stay safe.”

Returning to Phase 4 means people who can work remotely will be asked to do so, schools must enforce masking, and there will be stricter limits for indoor gatherings as outlined in Executive Order 2020-183.

While the Upper Peninsula had lower case numbers March through much of June, the region saw elevated case numbers starting at the end of June and increasing throughout the last few months. According to a press release from the state, a sharp increase in mid-September has led the region to have the most concerning numbers in the state. There are now 283 absolute cases per million and a 5.1% positivity rate.

The executive order takes effect Friday, October 9 at 12:01 a.m.

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IPR's Taylor Wizner is passionate about empowering communities through solid reporting.
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