Midwest governors team up to issue warning about COVID-19 during the holidays

U.S. & World

In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. The governor said she will make an announcement on reopening gyms and clarifying the standing of high school and other youth sports “very soon,” saying she knows many are anxious about their status amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Governors from across the Midwest, along with Kentucky, teamed up to issue a warning about traveling during the holiday season.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was joined by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in a social media video to encourage everyone across the region to remain safe over the holidays.

“As we head into the holiday season and the cold winter months we wanted to take a moment to talk to our families in our region about how you can protect your loved and our front line workers, as well as our small business owners, from COVID-19 and the pandemic,” Whitmer explains in the video.

The governors applauded the recent news of Moderna and Pfizer’s promising vaccine but cautioned against letting up on combating the virus.

‘This is great news, but it doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down and loosen the safety measures that we’ve made in our daily lives,” said Pritzker.

With COVID-19 cases rising in several states, elected officials are bringing back some restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus.

In Michigan, Gov. Whitmer’s administration on Sunday ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, closed restaurants to indoor dining and suspended organized sports — including the football playoffs — in a bid to curb the state’s spiking coronavirus cases.

The restrictions will begin Wednesday and last three weeks. They are not as sweeping as when the Democratic governor issued a stay-at-home order last spring but are extensive. They were announced as Michigan faces rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide and rising deaths.

In Illinois, COVID-19 test positivity rates in most of the state’s regions leveled off for at least a day Tuesday as the state approaches 600,000 total reported cases to date. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 12,601 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases Tuesday, as well as 97 additional coronavirus-related deaths.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently announced a stay-at-home advisory for the City of Chicago that went into effect on Monday.

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 5,541 more positive coronavirus cases and 84 additional COVID-19 deaths Tuesday.

Governor Eric Holcomb said Wednesday that beginning on Nov. 15, and going for at least a month, a new executive order will be issued targeting restrictions for orange and red counties in the state’s color-coded map.

COVID-19 numbers in Kentucky are continuing to set records. A little more than halfway through November, Fayette County has already had the most cases in a month.

Governor Andy Beshear says he’ll likely issue new restrictions Wednesday. But he also said they would be targeted and look different than earlier restrictions.

On Monday, Minnesota health officials reported an additional 7,444 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 231,018, including roughly 24,000 in the last three days. Another 12 people died from the virus, bringing the death toll to 2,917 since the pandemic began.

Gov. Tim Walz warned that positive cases in the pipeline would end up putting Minnesota hospitals under even more strain in coming weeks. He said more restrictions will likely be announced this week, including possible changes to youth winter sports, and he urged Minnesotans to stop politicizing the pandemic and listen to health officials.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new curfew, aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus. After hinting at more restrictions last week, the governor introduced his latest measure during his news conference on Tuesday.

In the last 24 hours, 7,079 COVID-19 cases, 30 deaths, 368 hospitalizations and 27 intensive care unit admissions were reported to the Ohio Department of Health.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Tuesday reported the largest single-day increase in COVID-19 related deaths at 92.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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