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Whitmer Still Mum On Health Director’s Resignation

Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday refused to discuss the circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of Michigan’s health director during the coronavirus pandemic, not saying if she had asked for his resignation.

The Democratic governor also declined to set a date for the return of youth contact sports, amid growing pressure after her administration extended the ban through Feb. 21.

Robert Gordon, who issued COVID-19 restrictions after Whitmer’s powers were upended by an October court ruling, resigned Friday as director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. The governor named Elizabeth Hertel to succeed him.

“It’s been a grueling couple of years, and changes in administrations happen,” the governor said at a news conference. “I wish Robert Gordon the very best. I truly do. I’m incredibly grateful for the hard work and the way that he showed up every single day over these last two years.”

The state has announced that restaurants and bars can resume dine-in service, starting Feb. 1, after a significant drop in virus cases and hospitalizations. But youth contact sports, including winter high school seasons in basketball, hockey, wrestling and competitive cheer, remain off limits.

Whitmer pointed to the emergence of a more contagious virus variant as cause for concern.

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