Michigan promotes shots, not more restrictions, during surge

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration is focusing on getting more people vaccinated, not imposing new restrictions on the economy, despite a wave of COVID-19 cases and crowded hospitals, Michigan's health director said Wednesday.

Elizabeth Hertel noted that indoor high school sports, a source of infections, are wrapping up soon, and spring sports are outdoors where close contact is less likely. All teen athletes must be regularly tested, a rule that began Friday.

Hertel spoke to reporters while more unflattering statistics emerged. Michigan was No. 1 in the U.S. for new COVID-19 cases: More than 46,000, or 469 per 100,000 people, in the last seven days, the federal government reported Wednesday, far ahead of New Jersey at 321.

The state health department reported 8,000 new cases Wednesday and 30 more deaths.

About 37 percent of residents 16 and older has had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Detroit, which is lagging behind other areas in Michigan, will spend $1.2 million to send people door to door to promote the shots.

Earlier, in Washington, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Michigan to come up with "stronger mitigation strategies" that decrease community activity.

The number of people with COVID-19 admitted to Michigan hospitals has doubled every 12 to 14 days for three weeks, the state said.

Separately, the Biden administration, citing the pandemic, removed work requirements for people getting Medicaid health insurance benefits through the Healthy Michigan plan.


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