Majority Republicans in the Michigan State House of Representatives are proposing a wide-ranging COVID-19 virus control plan. It is in direct response to the Governor’s unilateral virus-related controls being nullified by the Michigan State Supreme Court. The Republican lawmakers are joined by medical professionals from around the state proposing a more local approach to virus-related control decisions. They are characterizing the plan as placing heavy emphasis on science-based, county-level data to guide decisions to keep people healthy and determine appropriate COVID-19 restrictions. The plan is also designed to help keep business open and people at work.

“This is a data-driven plan that will work in partnership with the medical community to shape the best COVID-19 responses for Michigan. Those responses may vary from place to place as the prevalence of the virus and other local conditions may vary,” said Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso. “This approach aligns with the feedback I’ve heard from local health experts about the importance of more community-based strategies to keep the curve flattened while protecting lives and livelihoods across our state.” Frederick helped lead a workgroup to develop refinements to existing plans after the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling striking down Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders as unconstitutional. The plan builds upon themes first proposed by Michigan House Republicans in April.

“This plan provides certainty and offers hope to guide Michigan through the stress and confusion of this pandemic,” said Rep. Julie Calley of Portland. “You will have a voice in determining the COVID-19 responses in place in your own community. And when a decision is made, you will know why. By empowering people and listening to science, Michigan will have a safe, sensible and improved response to the virus as we move forward to better days ahead.” When the data supports it, local public health experts will have the option to modify their COVID-19 policies at the county-level – potentially loosening state limits on gathering sizes, restaurant capacity and other measures that would remain in place in other counties. Health thresholds allowing local decision-making would be based on five clear scientific metrics:

Case rate. The number of confirmed community spread cases over a 14-day period is below 55 cases per 1 million people.

Positivity rate. The rate of positive tests related to community spread over a 14-day period must be below 5 percent.

Surge and hospital capacity. Hospitals must be able to handle a 20 percent surge in admissions or patient transfers, and they must be below a 25 percent hospitalization increase in the previous 14 days.

Sufficient PPE supply. Local health facilities must have at least a two-week supply of personal protective equipment on hand.

Ability to test for COVID-19. Counties must be able to test 15 people per 10,000 residents per day, and turn around test results in three days or less.
If the data indicates a county has risen above these COVID metrics, intervention strategies would immediately go into effect.

So far no response from Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer or state health administrators to the Republican plan.

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