By Bria Brown

MICHIGAN (CBS DETROIT) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her six phase plan on May 7 to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reopen Michigan’s economy.

The governor has worked with leaders in health care, business, labor, and education to develop the plan and says Michigan is in phase four.

MI Safe Start Plan

The phases of the pandemic include:


The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.

  •  If a community remains in this phase for an extended period of time, healthcare facilities could quickly be overwhelmed. Because unmitigated behavior contributes to the exponential growth, communities can slow the growth rate and exit this phase by introducing social distancing practices and wearing masks when in public.


We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.

  • There are still high case levels, but the growth rate might gradually decrease. Within this phase, the epidemic is widespread in a community and source of infection is more difficult to trace. Even though the growth rate of new cases is decreasing, high volumes of infected individuals mean that health systems could become overwhelmed, leading to higher mortality rates. During this phase, it is important to maintain social distancing practices in order to slow the spread to a level that health systems can handle as they are continuing to build capacity.


The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.

  • Because new cases are not constantly increasing, health system capacity has time to expand to epidemic needs and is not typically overwhelmed. During this phase, testing and contact tracing efforts are ramped up statewide. To prevent each infected individual from spreading the virus unchecked, rapid case investigation, contact tracing, and containment practices are necessary within a community.


Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining.

  • When in the Improving phase, most new outbreaks are quickly identified, traced, and contained due to robust testing infrastructure and rapid contact tracing. Health system capacity can typically handle these new outbreaks, and therefore case fatality rate does not rise above typical levels. Though a community might be in a declining phase, the overall number of infected individuals still indicate the need for distancing to stop transmission and move to the next phase.


Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained. 

  • At this point, the number of active cases has reached a point where infection from other members of the community is less common. With widespread testing, positivity rates often fall much lower than earlier phases. Rapid case investigation, contact tracing, and containment strategies cause new cases to continue to fall. However, if distancing and other risk mitigation efforts are not continued, infections could begin to grow again because a permanent solution to the epidemic has not yet been identified.


Community spread not expected to return.

  • Reaching this phase would mean that community spread is not expected to return, because of sufficient community immunity and availability of treatment. Because of this, the number of infected individuals falls to nearly zero and the community does not typically experience this strain of the epidemic returning. All areas of the economy reopen, and gatherings of all sizes resume.

“The worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we’ve made. That’s why we will continue to monitor the spread of this virus, hospital capacity, testing rates, and more as we work toward reaching the ‘improving’ phase,” Whitmer said.

RELATED LINK: Gov. Whitmer Lifts Stay-At-Home Order Across Michigan

RELATED LINK: ICYMI: Here’s Gov. Whitmer’s Update On The State’s Response To COVID-19

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Comments (6)
  1. Felix Fulicea says:

    She is a non essential . Not a good governor of mi.

  2. THOMAS BROWN says:

    This is not a plan. This is a weak framework that tells us the MI economy will be closed for a year. I fear for the small businesses of this state. Whitmer is trying to look tough but is only revealing her fear of leading the state. It is easy to do nothing and claim its all for safety. It is cowardly leadership to destroy people’s lives for the false promise that it is saving them. The next step is for her to beg for money from the feds to bail out her inaction. The sad news is, there is no bailout for her plan of doing nothing. Whitmer and her party politic friends will watch the “poor” workers go out of business and starve. The results of this unprecedented power grab, and hijacking of constitutional rights, is a huge tax rate hike in MI, a bigger and even less responsive government, and a new wave of people leaving our great state to survive and thrive elsewhere.

    1. Dan Pfeiffer says:

      Thomas: you are right on the money. the most frustrating thing of where we in Michigan are right now is the inability of us to do anything about it! Where is our leadership that is real leadership? Our only hope is the lawsuit that the legislature filed against Whitmer. It worked in Wisconsin!

      Dan in Grand Blanc

  3. Steve says:

    Asinine. There are counties out there that have fewer than one in one thousand residents infected and that’s across the entire outbreak. Why are THEY put under the same restrictions as Metro Detroit?

  4. Who is this person to “require” people to wear masks??? She obviously doens’t know a thing about science or health! This is just plain wrong!

  5. Notice that gyms never re-open. Just because she is fat and flabby along with her husband doe not mean she can force us to be also be out of shape middle aged fools.

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