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Whitmer Says COVID Response Must Coordinate With Flu Protections

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House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Governor Gretchen Whitmer testifies remotely before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Tuesday, June 2 2020.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday that she fears Michigan could regress as the upcoming flu season overlaps with the COVID-19 crisis.

Whitmer testified online before a congressional subcommittee. It’s examining states’ responses to COVID-19. As of Tuesday afternoon, 5,553 people in Michigan are known to have died from the disease. 

   

The governor called the last couple of months “tremendously difficult.”

“A second wave would be even more devastating and that’s precisely why it’s so important we get this right as we think about re-engagement,” said Whitmer.  

She said a major concern is a flu wave that’s expected every fall and winter will stress hospitals, clinics, and health care providers already dealing with the first wave COVID-19.

Whitmer said she’d like to see better federal coordination of safety and medical supplies to states. 

She gave an example, she says Michigan has plenty of testing capacity. But health care workers often don’t have the correct swabs that work with the tests.

“And so until there’s a centralized procurement and allocation with real-time information on what’s coming so that we can do our planning it’s going to be hard for us to hit those numbers that are necessary to prevent the spread,” Whitmer said.

   

The governor said she’d also like to see a national campaign to encourage people to cooperate with contact tracers and follow quarantine instructions if they’ve been exposed to someone who’s infected.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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