After a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the Upper Peninsula, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has moved the region back to Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan. The executive order does not go into effect until Friday, October 9 to give schools and businesses time to adjust, but everyone is encouraged to make the transition as swiftly as possible.
The move back to Phase 4 will require people who can work remotely to do so, require schools to enforce mask requirements, and place limits on social gatherings and stores that match those in place for most of the rest of the state.
Social gatherings and organized events will be subject to Phase 4 limits. Indoor residential gatherings are limited to 10 people or less. Gatherings or events with fixed seating capacity are limited to 20% of that capacity. Gatherings or events at venues without fixed seating capacity must limit attendance to 20 people per 1,000 feet of venue space. Stores must limit the number of people in the store, including employees, to 25% of total occupancy limits.
Although the Upper Peninsula had very low numbers from March through most of June, the region’s numbers began rising in late June, persisted at an elevated level through mid-September, and then began sharply increasing. The most recent case rate has the region with 283 cases per million and 5.1% positivity, making its numbers the most concerning, according to the state.
The case rates vary across the region. Houghton County is reporting 612.9 cases per million, Menominee County is reporting 455 cases per million, Delta County is reporting 675 cases per million, and Mackinac County is reporting 79.2 cases per million. The statewide case rate is 75.9 cases per million.
Region 6, the Traverse City region, which makes up much of the northern Lower Peninsula, has not experienced a comparable climb and will remain in Phase 5 at this time.
Executive Order 2020-192 issued October 9 can be viewed here.