GOP Rep says COVID plan proposed Tuesday will give local health officials more discretion

“We’re trying to move past an era of geographic captivity," Rep Ben Frederick told FOX 17 following a morning press conference
Posted at 5:21 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 17:21:08-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Republican lawmakers say a new COVID response plan proposed Tuesday will give local health officials more discretion in determining the scope of health orders within their own counties.

Michigan House Republicans held a press conference Tuesday morning to unveil their proposed 'Michigan's Comeback Road Map' plan to respond to the pandemic moving forward.

“Our charge was to ensure that we put forward an ongoing COVID response policy which achieved specific goals, greater transparency, answering the questions people have about what, why, and for how long,” Rep Ben Frederick said Tuesday morning, alongside other GOP lawmakers.

With their plan, county health officials would have the option of adjusting the scope of how COVID health precautions are put in to place within their counties.

“We’re trying to move past in an era of geographic captivity, where people feel helpless and hopeless, as they're, you know, lumped in with broad swaths of territory, and allow for some nuance to come to a county that meets certain base metrics and maintains those metrics.”

The following metrics would have to be met at a county level for local health officials to have the option of adjusting thresholds:

  • Case Rate: 55 cases per million population over a 14-day period.
  • Positivity Rate: 5 percent over a 14-day period.
  • Surge and Hospital Capacity: A surge of 20 percent in admissions or transfers, and a 25 percent increase in hospitalizations over 14 days.
  • PPE Supply: Health facilities must have a two-week supply of personal protective equipment.
  • Ability to Test: Each county would be required to test 15 people per 10,000 residents per day and get test results back in three days or less.

Rep Frederick told FOX 17 Tuesday afternoon that while they have reached out to Governor Whitmer's office in regards to working together on the plan, they have yet to have any meaningful interactions about it.

Tuesday's proposal comes in the wake of the state supreme court striking down executive order extensions issued by the Governor at the beginning of October.

“I think it certainly was the court’s expectation and it's the expectation of the public that the legislative branch and executive branch work together,” Rep Frederick said.

“And now I think is a right time, we certainly have an open hand to work with the Governor in this process.”

FOX 17 did reach out to Governor Whitmer's office for a response to the proposal laid out Tuesday morning but had yet to hear back Tuesday evening.

“We've reached a point where it's just kind of this ongoing melees. And so this plan is seeking to re-establish the goal as preservation of our our healthcare capacity, following best practices, but also sharing with the public,” Rep Frederick said.

You can find more information on the GOP's proposed Comeback Road Map plan at the Michigan House Republicans website.