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By Carol Stiffler

On Monday, March 23, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave an order that many were equally expecting and dreading: Stay home, and stay safe. From now through at least April 13, Whitmer wants all Michigan residents to stay home in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Without these measures, hospitals would quickly be overloaded with critical care patients.

Up to 1,000,000 residents might need simultaneous hospitalization, she said, and our state only has 25,000 beds in critical care units.

Social distancing and orders to stay home aren’t designed to prevent people from getting the disease, period. They aim to slow the spread so the healthcare industry can manage the load.

In addition to asking residents to stay home, Whitmer ordered the temporary halt to business operations that are not necessary to “sustain or protect life”.

Under the executive order, Michigan residents cannot:

Leave the home to work unless they are designated as critical infrastructure workers

Participate in any public gatherings

Visit someone in a hospital, residential care or nursing home facility (with few exceptions)

Go to the mall or restaurants

Michigan residents can:

Go to the grocery store or pick up take-out food

Go to the pharmacy to fill a prescription

Walk, hike or do solitary outdoor activities

Visit a doctor or go to a hospital for emergency medical care

Fill the car with gas

Return home to Michigan from other states

Leave Michigan for a home in other states

Walk pets and take them to the vet for veterinary care

This three-week shelter in place order also means that Michigan schools are closed for at least one more week than originally planned. Schools are now scheduled to re-open on April 13.

At press time on Tuesday, Michigan had 1,329 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including one in the Upper Peninsula, and had reported 15 deaths linked to the virus. That is the fifth-highest state total, behind New York, New Jersey, Washington, and California. The United States currently has the third-highest number of total confirmed cases in the world – at 47,096 – behind only China and Italy.