Michigan COVID Guidance Explained As Worst U.S. Hotspot Requests Federal Assistance

The federal government has granted Michigan's request for additional staffing assistance at Michigan hospitals, the state's Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has said.

The request from Governor Gretchen Whitmercame in response to a spike in COVID cases in the state, the most severe rise in the U.S. The government will send two teams of 22 medical practitioners each to Michigan hospitals to relieve doctors and nurses treating COVID patients and those suffering from other conditions.

"I'm grateful that the federal government has granted our request to provide much-needed relief to the health care personnel who have remained on the frontlines of this pandemic," said Gov. Whitmer on Wednesday.

According to The New York Times, COVID cases of the virus in Michigan have risen by 88 percent in the past two weeks. The daily average of cases per day in the state is now at an average of 8,457. This works out as 85 cases per 100,000 people. As of November 25, the total number of cases in the state was 1,444,554.

The daily average of Michigan residents hospitalized as a result of the virus is 3,843, or about 38 people per 100,000. This represents a rise of 48 percent in hospitalizations in Michigan over the past 14 days. Hospitalizations in the state are now at their highest since April 2021.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director, Elizabeth Hertel, said: "Hospitals are at capacity across the state, particularly in Metro Detroit and West Michigan, and this is taking a tremendous toll on our health care workers," said Elizabeth Hertel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director.

"Right now, our doctors and nurses are reporting the vast majority of their patients are unvaccinated or have not yet received a booster dose," Gov. Whitmer added.

Currently, 54 percent of Michigan residents are fully vaccinated, below the 59 percent average across the United States. In the state, 61 percent of citizens have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccination.

There are currently no vaccine mandates in Michigan, and it is not under a state of emergency. The declaration of a state of emergency in relation to the COVID global pandemic was lifted in the state by Michigan Supreme Court on October 2, 2020.

Likewise, Michigan currently does not have a mask mandate in place. Newsweek previously reported that on November 19, the MDHHS issued a face mask advisory statement that suggested everyone over the age of 2 should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status.

The advice also stated that establishments should implement a policy to ensure that all people entering or seeking services wear a face mask. This includes employees. The MDHHS said that the face mask advisory will remain effective until further notice

On Monday, Gov. Whitmer said that she expects her health department to release "additional guidance" with regards to the state's COVID surge. She added that she had spoken to an unidentified hospital leader who was "not encouraging mandates."

Whitmer added that an unidentified hospital leader she spoke to had emphasized the need for Michigan residents to be better educated with regards to vaccinations.

The governor went on to advise that the population of Michigan get vaccinated. Whitmer said: "We can all do our part to help reduce the strain on our hospital systems by getting vaccinated, making an appointment to get a booster dose, and continuing to take precautions to keep ourselves and loved ones safe."

(Left) a scientifically accurate representation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at atomic resolution. (Right) Governor Gretchen Whitmer at Beech Woods Recreation Center in Southfield, Michigan, on October 16, 2020. Whitmer has called for assistance from the federal government after COVID cases surged in Michigan Creative Thinking/ JIM WATSON/GETTY