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Whitmer: 'It's Possible We May Have To Turn The Dial Back' If Covid-19 Numbers Continue To Increase

(CNN) Michigan has reported more than 14,000 cases of Covid-19 in the past week.

That's the highest single-week case count since the pandemic began in March.

Now Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the state may need to increase restrictions to bring cases under control.

"As we're navigating the next steps if the numbers continue to increase, it's possible we may have to turn the dial back," said Whitmer.
Whitmer says the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to issue statewide restrictions, including another shutdown.

Right now, MDHHS has statewide capacity limits on gathering and a mask mandate in place.

Those are emergency orders the agency issued after the state supreme court upended Whitmer's executive orders.

"I'm willing to work with anybody to solve these problems. But to stick our heads in the sand and say were not even going to do masks tells you that we really do need more partners in Lansing," she said.

Whitmer blames the sharp increase in cases on confusion and a lack of compliance following the court's decision and as well as discord with the Republican-led legislature.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, says by issuing orders and restrictions, MDHHS is overstepping its legal bounds. So far courts haven't ruled on challenges to MDHHS orders.

"I think the Supreme Court has spoken loud and clear, that the Constitution is still the Constitution and no amount of partisan politics can change that. And the warning they gave to the administration is it's now time to partner with the legislative branch," said Chatfield.

Last week legislative Republicans released a plan that would give counties more control including opting out of restrictions if transmission levels reached certain thresholds.

"It can't be a one size fits all approach that Michigan implemented at the very beginning. This is going to have to be a lot of cooperation between the legislative branch and the executive," said Chatfield.

The pandemic orders from MDHHS are set to expire on Oct. 30. Whitmer says they'll be extended before the week is over.

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