Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Rep. Debbie Dingell visited the Convocation Center at Eastern Michigan University, on Monday, April 12, to discuss the local vaccine distribution and the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan.
“Right now our nation, and especially Michigan, is still under a public health emergency from COVID-19, and that’s why we’re here,” Dingell said.
Michigan has over 100,000 active cases of COVID-19, which is the highest rate since the surge in November. According to Dingell, it is important for eligible Michigan residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“It’s all of our responsibility. We may be sick of this virus, but this virus isn’t sick of us,” Dingell said.
Dingell acknowledged the disparities regarding COVID-19 deaths and the lack of available vaccines in Black and Latino communities, including Ypsilanti. She expressed the need for more mobile vaccination sites and measures to ensure equity in the vaccine distribution process.
“These disparities have put our Black and Latino neighbors and friends at greater risk for COVID-19. That’s why getting vaccines into Ypsi and into Ypsilanti Township has mattered so much,” Dingell said.
After Dingell’s speech, Whitmer spoke about the importance of mass vaccination sites, such as the Convocation Center. Michigan has administered over 5.5 million doses of the vaccine to residents in the last four months.
“There is light at the end of this tunnel, but we know that we have seen a recent rise in cases, and that is to serve as a reminder that we are still very much in the tunnel,” Whitmer said. “And the only way out is if we move forward and if we move together.”
Whitmer encouraged Michigan residents to prevent the spread of the virus by wearing masks, social distancing, washing their hands, staying home, and getting vaccinated.
“We’ve got to grit our teeth and keep moving forward,” Whitmer said. “We’re making great progress. We are getting close.”
Whitmer gave an update about the potential reinstatement of restrictions due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. She said that Michigan’s positivity and hospitalization data are routinely examined to determine the most appropriate response by the state.
“Here’s where we are, instead of a year ago where this was a novel virus, or we didn't even know that a mask was going to give us 97% protection, we had to take strong actions to keep people safe. We now know a lot more about this. We now have PPE, we now have testing, we now have vaccines. We each have enough information to do our part and that’s what we’re calling on people to do,” Whitmer said.
Geoffrey Larcom, the Executive Director of Media Relations at EMU, said in a statement: “We were very pleased to have Gov. Whitmer and Rep. Dingell visit the Convocation Center to view the vaccination site, and we remain gratified to be hosting the vaccination process conducted by the WCHD. The University has worked hard to do its part to keep the University and the greater Ypsilanti community safe. We are glad to work closely with our partners at WCHD and St. Joe's to provide a nearby, accessible facility to support vaccination efforts.”
Information about scheduling a vaccine appointment can be found on the Washtenaw County Health Department website.