Whitmer: Lack of resources remains state's 'biggest threat' in fight against COVID-19

gretchen whitmer
Posted at 9:58 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 14:06:19-05

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says lack of resources remains the state's biggest threat in the fight against COVID-19.

She said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference that federal COVID-19 relief dollars haven't all been allocated by the state Legislature.

The governor was joined by MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

Case rates in Michigan have declined more than 80% since the state's peak in November.

Only 6% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

The 1:30 p.m. news conference came as multiple West Michigan counties detect unconnected cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus, which was originally detected in the United Kingdom.

B.1.1.7 is believed to be more contagious than the strain that had been spreading in the U.S. up until now.

RELATED: MDHHS director, local health officials "concerned" over B.1.1.7 variant in Michigan

Watch the news conference:

Because the cases of the variant aren't all linked, that means it's likely circulating in the community, Khaldun said.

However, studies have shown that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective against this variant.

Khaldun says that as more people get vaccinated and the virus has fewer opportunities to spread, it'll also have fewer opportunities to mutate.

In addition, because cases overall are down, the state has been able to ramp up its contact tracing efforts.

Officials also discussed their goal of every public school K-12 student having an in-person learning option by March 1, saying remote learning simply doesn't offer all that in-person learning can.