Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Moving Region 8 to Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan
This order moves Region 8 of Michigan, comprising the Upper Peninsula, to Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan. For March, April, and the first part of June, Region 8 had some of Michigan’s lowest COVID-19 case rates, percent positivity, and mortality rates. Beginning in mid-June, case rates began to slowly climb and remain at an elevated level through the middle of September, when they began to sharply rise. For the past few weeks, the case rates in many counties in Region 8 have been among the highest in the state. Positivity has also been rising despite increased testing numbers, which indicates significant spread of infection. For example, looking back 7 days to take into account data lag, Houghton County is reporting 612.9 absolute cases per million; Menominee County is reporting 455.0 absolute cases per million; Delta County is reporting 675.0 absolute cases per million; and Mackinac County is reporting 79.2 absolute cases per million. The statewide case rate is 75.9 absolute cases per million.
To address this climb, we must heighten our vigilance and strengthen our efforts to mitigate the virus’s spread in this region. Accordingly, I find that it is reasonable and necessary to move Region 8 into Phase 4, where a majority of the state currently stands. This move will take effect on October 9, 2020, to give businesses, schools, and individuals in that region ample time to prepare and adjust, but I urge everyone to make this transition as swiftly as possible. Region 6, which has not displayed a comparable climb at this time, remains in Phase 5.
Acting under the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and Michigan law, I find it reasonable and necessary, for the reasons outlined above, to order the following amendments to Executive Order 2020-183 (Safe Start) and Executive Order 2020-184 (Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19). While Executive Order 2020-142 (Provision of preK–12 education for the 2020–2021 school year, as amended by Executive Order 2020-185) does not require amendment, the move of Region 8 to Phase 4 impacts the policies and procedures that schools in that region must follow under the terms of that order.
Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Michigan.