Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that the state will keep its workplace restrictions for another six months in the face of a coronavirus surge within the state, The Detroit Free Press reports.

What did Gov. Whitmer announce?

Whitmer said the workplace COVID-19 restrictions set in place within the state, which were set to expire, will be extended.

  • The workplace regulations “require employers to allow people to work remotely if possible, and outline safety and health protocols that must be followed if employees are going to work together in the same location,” per The Detroit Free Press.
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Michigan is seeing a COVID-19 crisis. It could be what happens to the U.S.

Whitmer said this doesn’t mean people can’t return to the office.

“At this juncture, with our high positivity numbers, it’s really important to extend for another six months so that we have the ability to work through what these protocols look like and get people back into the workplace when it’s safe to do so,” Whitmer said, according to The Detroit Free Press.

Michigan and COVID-19

The state of Michigan has seen a jump in COVID-19 cases in the early part of 2021, despite the vaccine rollout within the states, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “I don’t know what’s going on here. Michigan is just one of the hardest hit,” said Scott Niswonger, a COVID-19 patient, according to CBS News.
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Michigan is seeing a COVID-19 crisis. It could be what happens to the U.S.
Why COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Michigan

Experts said the coronavirus spike has been linked to the spread of COVID-19 variants — like the B.1.1.7 variant, which was originally discovered in the U.K. — and social activities like youth sports, according to the Deseret News.

Whitmer has asked the White House for more COVID-19 vaccines to stop the spread of the virus, but the Biden administration doesn’t plan to change its strategy for the vaccine rollout, according to The New York Times.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said restrictions on activities, especially youth sports, could limit the spread.

  • “I encourage communities to make adjustments to meet their unique needs and circumstances,” Walensky said. “For example, in areas of substantial or high community transmission, CDC guidance specifically suggests refraining from youth sports that are not outside and cannot be conducted at least 6 feet apart.”

Dr. Celine Gounder, an epidemiologist, recently explained to CNN that Michigan could be an example of what happens to the entire country.

  • “Michigan is really the bellwether for what it looks like when the B.1.1.7 variant ... spreads in the United States,” Gounder told CNN. “It’s causing a surge in cases, and it’s causing more severe disease, which means that even younger people, people in their 30s, 40s and 50s, are getting very sick and being hospitalized from this.”