Whitmer: More virus testing would speed reopening of Michigan economy

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is looking at strategic ways to reopen the economy, but Michigan's lack of virus testing supplies is holding her back.

"No one's more anxious to reengage our economy than I am," Whitmer said Sunday morning on CNN's "State of the Union," but I want to do it in a way that really does save life and makes us safe."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks about the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan during a press conference in Lansing on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

For the stay-home, stay-safe order to be lifted, Whitmer said there needs to be more testing for COVID-19, but Michigan is lacking swabs and the reagents that are "absolutely essential."

"Part of the story in Michigan is we have the capacity to double or triple the number of tests that we're doing, but we need some of these supplies," Whitmer said on NBC's "Meet the Press. "We can't just turn back to what life was like before COVID-19 we have to be strategic."

Some have been critical of Whitmer's efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" after protesters on Wednesday filled streets in downtown Lansing to rally against Whitmer's executive orders.

The next day during the White House briefing, Trump said Michigan was among states that are "carried away" with stay-at-home orders, and that Whitmer has "got all these crazy (restrictions)."

An unnamed protester holds a sign against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a demonstration on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Capitol to voice their frustration with Whitmer's stay-at-home order.

"You know they say my home order is one of the nation's more conservative, but the fact of the matter is it's working. We are seeing the curve start to flatten and that means we're saving lives," Whitmer said. 

"We governors are doing the best we can with what we've got. We could use some assistance, though," Whitmer said. 

As of Saturday, Michigan reported 30,791 cases of coronavirus, with 2,308 deaths. The state also reported 3,237 COVID-19 recoveries through Thursday, up from 433 on the same day last week.