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Michigan Hospitals: Partial Shutdown Should Be Extended

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Michigan hospital officials said Monday the state’s partial shutdown of businesses and schools to curb the coronavirus is working and should be extended through the holiday season to alleviate stress on the health care system.

The statement came hours before Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration planned to announce to what it extent it will continue restrictions due to end late Tuesday. The three-week “pause” is expected to be lengthened.

The state health department has prohibited in-person instruction at high schools, dine-in eating at restaurants and organized sports. Entertainment venues like movie theaters and bowling alleys are closed.

The chief medical officers of hospitals and health systems issued a joint statement saying the order is slowly stabilizing the spread of COVID-19.

“As a state, we must not let our guard down and reverse this progress,” they said, reporting slight declines in virus-related emergency room visits, daily admissions and total hospitalizations.

The restrictions, many of which were in place earlier in the pandemic, took effect Nov. 18.

The seven-day average of daily new cases was 6,918 on Sunday, down from 7,604 two weeks before, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The rate of tests coming back positive, 12.4%, was up from 11.3%. The average daily death count was 122 — an increase from 71.3 on Nov. 22 — and fourth-highest in the country.

More than 4,100 people were hospitalized with symptoms, including about 500 on ventilators.

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