By Bria Brown

(CBS DETROIT) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference on Jan. 6 on the state’s response to COVID-19.

Here are the governor’s updates:

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  • Whitmer said the state’s actions are working. The vast majority of Michiganders are doing their part by wearing a mask, practicing safe social distancing, and avoiding indoor gatherings where the virus can spread easily.
  • In the past three weeks, the state has administered more than 152,000 vaccines.
  • Michigan is also now entering a new phase of vaccination starting Monday, Jan. 11.

By Jan. 11, all counties may begin vaccinating Michiganders over age 65. Some essential workers will also begin to be vaccinated including:

  • school and child care staff
  • frontline county, state and federal responders
  • staff in jails, prisons and shelters

“The more people we can get the safe and effective vaccine, the faster we can return to a sense of normalcy,” said Whitmer. “I urge all seniors to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and that all Michiganders to make a plan to get vaccinated when it becomes available to you. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eliminate this virus together.”

Whitmer says to date, 80 percent of deaths have occurred among those age 65 and older.

In addition to vaccinating Michiganders who are 75+ in Phase 1B (Phase 1B, Group A), MDHHS is accelerating to vaccinate individuals 65-74 years old (Phase 1C Group A). MDHHS is accelerating implementation of vaccination of individuals 65-74 years due to concern around disparity in life expectancy by race/ethnicity for this group (Phase 1C, Group A).

The Phases are as follows:

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  • Phase 1A: Paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home as well as residents in long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B: Persons 75 years of age or older and frontline essential workers in critical infrastructure.
  • Phase 1C: Individuals 16 years of age or older at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 infection and some other essential workers whose position impacts life, safety and protection during the COVID-19 response.
  • Phase 2: Individuals 16 years of age or older.

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

  • Cases are at 237 cases per million people and range from 198 cases in the Traverse City region to 342 cases in the Jackson region.
  • Over the past week cases have been plateauing after having a decline over the previous six days.
  • Michigan’s case rate is more than twice what it was at the beginning of October.
  • 12.6 percent of in-patient hospital beds are being used to treat COVID-19 patients. This is down from 19.6 percent on Dec. 4, 2020.
  • The percent of positive coronavirus tests is now at 9.6 percent, which is an increase from 8.2 percent on Dec. 27, 2020.

Overall Khaldun says she is concerned because the state may be seeing a “slowing of progress.”

As for vaccinations, the state has set a goal to have 70 percent of Michiganders over the age of 16 vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Khaldun says prior to the press conference, there was a meeting with the CDC who informed her team that Michigan is now in the top five states in the nation when it comes to the percent of Michiganders that have been vaccinated. This comes after Michigan was ranked 7th worst in the nation for administering COVID-19 vaccines, according to the CDC.

The chief medial executive said this was great progress and “expects the CDC website to be updated later today.”

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