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Whitmer administration: UP could move back to Phase 4 in reopening plan

Upper Michigan remains in Phase 5, but the governor says her administration is closely watching the rate of rising COVID-19 cases.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Michigan, speaks at a press conference in Lansing, Sept. 16, 2020.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Michigan, speaks at a press conference in Lansing, Sept. 16, 2020.(State of Michigan)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 8:05 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - A backwards step is possible for Upper Michigan in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s phased reopening plan.

The U.P. remains in Phase 5, but the governor says her administration is closely watching the rate of rising COVID-19 cases in the U.P. and Traverse City regions.

“We’re very concerned about the numbers and what we’ve been seeing consistently coming out of those two regions in particular,” Whitmer said at a Wednesday press conference.

Michigan’s chief medical executive says the state health department is comparing the Upper Peninsula’s numbers to other parts of the state.

“We’re certainly watching the northern part of the state, especially in the Upper Peninsula,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said. “I can say that they’ve been at a rate of over 40 cases per million since the beginning of July, and it also looks like the Upper Peninsula may be in line with some of the numbers in other areas of the state that are in Phase 4. So we’ll continue to look at that closely to see if we need to make any additional policy changes.”

As it stands right now under current executive orders, a regression to Phase 4 would mean tighter protocols for U.P. schools and outdoor gatherings would be limited to 100 people.

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