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Gov. Whitmer wants focus on economy and vaccines as COVID-19 cases surge

Posted at 8:22 AM, Nov 23, 2021

OWOSSO, Mich. (WXYZ) — As COVID-19 cases surge in Michigan, the governor’s office has been handling the pandemic much differently this year compared to last year.

Last year, we saw regular COVID-19 press conferences and mandates. This year, the governor held the first press conference in weeks and it wasn’t about COVID-19.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held the press conference in Owosso at Crest Marine to talk about the pontoon boat manufacturer expanding and creating jobs.

"As we emerge from this once in a century pandemic health crisis, we have a once in a generation opportunity. Our economy grew third fastest nationwide in the second quarter of this year. And we have been leading the Midwest. Not everyone is feeling it yet, but with investments like this, more and more will,” she said.

As she spoke about emerging from the pandemic, Michigan hospital leaders urged the public to help address an “alarming situation.” They warn that as we approach the holiday season, Michigan is approaching the highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began.

The governor said she has been talking to hospital leaders who have encouraged the state to urge people to get vaccinated.

“They were not encouraging mandates,” Whitmer said.

The governor’s team asked that the press not ask questions about other issues and instead focus on the economic announcement from Crest.

7 Action News still asked Whitmer if she could share what she has been doing in recent days, as Michigan cases surged and she made no public appearances. The governor’s last public appearance was on Nov. 10.

“We inoculated 10% of 5- to 11-year-olds last weekend as parents see this vaccine as key to keeping their kids safe,” Whitmer said.

She didn’t discuss what she has been doing in recent days as President Joe Biden visited Michigan last week and COVID-19 cases surged past where they were last year. Her press secretary Bobby Leddy sent WXYZ a statement saying the governor attended the Semiconductor Industry Association’s annual event in California to talk to industry leaders to help address the domestic chip shortage and bring more investments to Michigan.

The governor did call on individuals to take action at the family level to help the state manage the pandemic.

“Tell your loved ones how much you love them and want to spend Christmas with them. It is time to get vaccinated,” Whitmer said.