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MDHHS director calls state COVID-19 trends "alarming"

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Nov 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-01 21:42:17-05

MICHIGAN — After a record-setting week for COVID-19, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is asking people to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

“Lives are at stake,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director.

The state reported 20,159 weekly cases, which shattered previous all-time highs. Last week the state recorded 13,129 weekly cases and 10,242 weekly cases the week before that.

The numbers were due in large part to two new single-day increases. On Saturday there were 3,792 new cases, which beat Thursday’s record.

“The rise of coronavirus in Michigan is very, very alarming,” said Gordon.

Gordon also lists deaths and hospitalizations as a concern.

The number of people dying from COVID-19 climbed for the fifth week in a row.

Hospitalizations have doubled over the last three weeks, however rates remain below spring levels and health systems, for the most part, are stocked up with at least three weeks of PPE according to the state’s website.

“We can get this under control but it’s going to take, unfortunately, a significant amount of effort,” said Gordon.

MDHHS reduced indoor social gatherings to no more than 50 people on Thursday.

Gordon says data shows the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 is 20 times higher inside than being outside.

State outbreak data reports larger outbreaks in other settings than the places impacted in Thursday’s order, however Gordon explains that information can be biased.

“It is easy to find outbreaks in a nursing home or a college because the people in those places,” said Gordon. “We know where they are and we can link those cases easily. It’s much harder to find outbreaks that are linked to a restaurant or a party, and we often don’t.”

According to Gordon people need to double down on wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing. He says it’s not the department’s desire to add any more restrictions.

“We know from science what it takes to get this thing under control and if each of us does our part, we’re going to be able to do that,” said Gordon.