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House GOP rolls out COVID plan


Republican state lawmakers have presented their version of a COVID-19 response plan. The state House GOP proposal follows a court ruling that struck down many of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s unilateral emergency orders.

There are still state public health department orders that require masks and distancing. But Whitmer and the Republican-controlled Legislature will have to strike a deal on other measures. 

State House Republicans say their proposal would not mean a statewide lifting of health orders, but would instead give more decision-making power to counties with continued low infection rates.

“Counties which exercise precaution will see their metrics improve,” said Representative Julie Calley (R-Portland), “and they will be rewarded with a locally focused response tailored to meet their own needs.”

Calley serves on a special joint House and Senate committee examining the state’s COVID-19 response.

Counties would also have to show they have enough hospital beds and protection equipment to deal with a surge.

The plan would require counties to track cases, positivity rates, hospital rates and capacity, as well as testing capacity and the availability of personal protection equipment. They would also be required to create a state-approved mitigation plan to deal with a surge in cases. 

“This ongoing goal would be clearly stated as keeping the curve flattened, that is not overwhelming our hospitals and health facilities while continuing best practices to keep people safe,”  said Representative Ben Frederick (R-Owosso), who also serves on the House Health Policy Committee.

There was no immediate reaction from House Democrats, or the Senate Republican majority.

Governor Whitmer also had no immediate reaction, but her office said she is examining the proposal.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.