By Bria Brown

(CBS DETROIT) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference on Dec. 1 on the state’s response to COVID-19.

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The governor proposed a $100 million COVID-19 relief plan for legislators to approve when they returned to session Tuesday.

In her letter, Whitmer wrote, “Michigan families are hurting, and while we must continue to advocate for meaningful support from the federal government, we simply cannot afford to wait.”

The governor also asked lawmakers to pass a permanent extension of unemployment benefits. At the end of the year, approved bills from October lengthening state unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks, will expire.

On Monday, city leaders called for state legislative actions they said would help prevent cuts to vital services such as police and fire protection, without requiring a state handout, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved $10 million in grant funding to provide support to small businesses across Michigan that have been impacted by COVID-19.

The governor said applications will open for eligible businesses beginning Dec. 15.

To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet a number of criteria, including but not limited to:

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  • Being a business in one of the targeted industries;
  • Identifying a need for payroll, rent, or mortgage payments, and/or utility expenses necessary to continue or restart business operations;
  • Having at least two employees (including the owner) but fewer than 50;
  • Additional eligibility requirements can be found on Michiganbusiness.org/relief.

Michigan reported 35 new coronavirus outbreaks in Michigan schools Monday. The highest outbreak was reported from Northern Michigan University with 10 cases among the university’s hockey team.

Here are updates from Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health.

  • Overall, Michigan’s case rate is now at 608 cases per million people and has been declining for the past week.
  • All regions in the state have seen a decline in cases over the past seven to 15 days.
  • Case rates remain above 500 cases per million people for all areas of the state except for the Traverse City region.
  • Test positivity is showing slight improvements with positivity rates declining as well over the past week. Test positivity is now at 13 percent and is down from 14 percent on Nov. 16. Khaldun says it is still higher than the department would like it to be.

At the beginning of November, Khaldun says more people were wearing masks, not gathering and maintaining social distancing.

“We think that is contributing to the decrease in our rate of rise in cases. We will continue to watch these trends as we have throughout the pandemic and case rates and test positivity, and especially looking for those increases from the Thanksgiving holiday,” she said.

“If you did gather or travel during Thanksgiving, you should really make sure you’re trying to stay away from others as much as possible for 14 days after you traveled,” she said.

As for healthcare systems, Michigan still has about 20 percent of in patient beds filled with COVID-19 patients. Khaldun says, overall there are about 4,200 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state.

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