Michigan expands coronavirus testing criteria amid loosened social-distancing measures


  • State of Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expanded the criteria for coronavirus testing Tuesday as more people come into contact with each other under loosened social-distancing measures.

Whitmer’s latest executive order makes testing available to people who have mild symptoms, have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, have been working outside their home for at least 10 days, or reside in a congregate setting, such as a nursing home, jail, homeless shelter, or migrant camp. Doctor's orders are no longer required at any of the 250 testing sites across the state.

“We need to keep working to expand testing and require people who test positive to isolate from others so we can prevent community spread,” Whitmer said at a news conference Tuesday. “It’s crucial that residents who are at risk of catching this virus get tested. We’re working incredibly hard to make it easier for everyone to get tested.”

To reopen more of the economy, Whitmer has set a goal of 15,000 tests a day. The state averaged 12,200 diagnostic tests a day so far this month, after taking into account that it had artificially inflated the number of tests by combining two different types of testing, which is more than double the number of daily tests in April.

Widespread testing is critical to identifying outbreaks and quickly containing them as more people get back to work.

The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths continues to plummet. In the past week, the state averaged 393 new cases a day, compared to nearly 1,700 a day in the first week of April. The average number of daily COVID-19 deaths in the past week was 36, compared to 134 in mid-April.

New coronavirus cases are down in every county in the state, and hospitals are no longer overwhelmed. In the past month, the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital has fallen from 2,757 to 953.

Also on Tuesday, Whitmer addressed news reports about her husband asking a docking business in Elk Rapids whether his boat dock would be installed faster if he was the spouse of the governor. She said her husband made “a failed attempt at humor.”

“Knowing it wouldn’t make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up in the queue,” Whitmer said. "To be honest, I wasn’t laughing either. He regrets it. I wished it wouldn’t have happened."

Whitmer also discussed armed rallies and death threats against her on social media, as first reported by Metro Times.

"My family has had men with automatic weapons standing in view of our front window outside of our home,” Whitmer said. “We have read the vile things people have written in response to my Stay Home Stay Safe order. My daughters have seen the likeness of their mother hung from a noose of an effigy. We have weathered demonstrations that were egged on or participated in by some sitting Republican leaders. Even my neighbors have been terrorized as they tried to enjoy their Memorial Day in Antrim County, despite the fact that I was 200 miles away.”

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