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CMU responds to supreme court decision as COVID-19 cases slowly rise

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COVID-19 cases at Central Michigan University increase for the second week in a row as the Michigan Supreme Court decided to rid of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's state executive protocols.

The state Supreme Court ruled Friday to strip Whitmer of her emergency powers, making her executive orders null and void. While these orders supposedly remain in effect for 21 days, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she would no longer enforce Whitmer’s orders, according to an article from the Detroit News.

During the week of Sept. 28 – Oct. 4, CMU announced 21 new cases on the university’s Fired Up For Fall webpage. This is up from the week prior, which had 16 new cases announced. Of the 244 reported cases with CMU’s population since June 15, 17 are considered “active.”

The university defines "active cases" as those who tested positive, either symptomatic or asymptomatic, and are 10 or fewer days after the first signs of symptoms or referral date. Inactive cases are defined as people 11 days after the first signs of symptoms and who are asymptomatic.

The Central Michigan District Health Department is reporting cases related to the return of CMU students to the Mount Pleasant area on the State of Michigan’s website. There have been 323 cases associated with the return as of Sept. 28, according to the state’s website.

Melissa DeRoche, the emergency preparedness coordinator for CMDHD, said these cases include current students, former students and those living both inside or outside the community who were identified as being associated with other cases related to return to CMU.

Despite the ruling Friday, CMU will continue enforcing COVID-19 protocol. In an email to students, CMU President Bob Davies said the university will continue to require the use of masks on campus and will enforce social distancing and gathering sizes.

“Throughout the pandemic, our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have been guided by our local and state leaders, including our health department, as well as by our own medical experts and Emergency Management Team,” Davies said in the email. “Each week, we review national best practices and research, we discuss recent trends and news, and we make decisions based upon the unique needs of our university community.”

Steve Hall, health officer for CMDHD, said in a press release that Whitmer is asking for clarification on the timeframe of her orders and that she might re-issue them under different authorities. Because of this, the department will wait and see what future rules are put in place before putting any local orders in place.

“The reasons to continue masking, limiting gathering sizes, social distancing and screening of employees stretch far beyond executive orders,” Hall said. “We want to remind everyone not to give up and to continue to work together to keep each other safe.”

As of Oct. 10, there have been 665 cases in Isabella County since the start of the pandemic, according to the county’s website. There have been 506 recoveries and 15 deaths.