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MDHHS director hopeful about three-week "pause"

Posted at 9:33 PM, Nov 16, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Beginning Wednesday, Michigan will be on “pause” in an effort to flatten the surge of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in the state.

“We have seen dramatic increases in the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and unfortunately, deaths from COVID,” said Robert Gordon, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director.

Gordon issued the order on Sunday. It enacts a three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings, such as the closure of movie theaters and indoor dining. Additionally, no more than 10 people from two homes can get together at any one time in residential settings.

According to Gordon, studies show transmission is 18-20 times higher indoors than outdoors.

“We looked at the data about where COVID comes from, and it’s pretty clear it’s coming from indoor gatherings,” said Gordon. “People getting together, not just crowded bars, but also household gatherings, small groups."

"It’s a targeted and temporary order that is geared toward us continuing to work and get together outside, but really reducing those indoor gatherings where COVID spreads.”

Gordon says he cannot promise this three-week measure will be all that’s needed to flatten the curve, although he and other medical experts are hopeful it will be.

“I’m not able to put a number on it, but I think we have multiple measures that we watch,” said Gordon. “We look at cases, positivity levels, hospitalizations, and deaths, and we will hope to see a trend in all of those that is improving. That’s the most important thing.”

He says it’s important all Michiganders do their part in this “pause.”

“If we hopefully all do our parts, we will save lives and we get through to the other side of this faster,” said Gordon. “There’s no path here without taking a step back and without sacrifice.”