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Michigan reaches first COVID-19 benchmark; in-person work can resume May 24

55% Michiganders now have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan has hit a major milestone on the way to fully reopening. 55% of Michiganders now have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Hitting this mark means in two weeks all businesses will be allowed to return to in-person work, but the end of the work-from-home order is drawing mixed reviews.

“Like every Michigander, I’m relieved to be at 55%,” Mid-Michigan Health Department Health Officer Marcus Cheatham said.

Not everyone who’s been working from home for the last fourteen months is excited to go back. Tricia Ellis wants to stay home because her productivity has increased.

“Now I feel like I created my dream job. I really thought going into the whole thing that it was a positive thing for me and my family,” Ellis said.” So many were stressed out and I was like it’s been good to us. I’m home with my daughter, she’s home with me, my husband goes to work, it felt really good and now we’re 15 months in and I couldn’t be happier.”

Mary Shortt is a priest and hospice worker who’s been in-person all along and likes being out of her home.

“There’s so many distractions at home, where if you come into an office you have to focus on the job, and that’s better,” Shortt said. “That’s really what kept me sane is being able to come to work and see the people I worked with.”

Medical experts are happy the state has reached its first benchmark, but some are concerned numbers could level off from here.

“To be at 55%, to see the cases coming down, is just wonderful. To know that large parts of the state are protected effectively at herd immunity, this is wonderful,” Cheatham said. “But I’m worried we’re going to end up with a lot of inequality across the state in terms of rates of vaccination.”

As the state is moving towards its next three vaccination goals, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is keeping those areas in mind, especially when thinking of statewide herd immunity.

“At the state we’re watching those numbers really closely and with a great deal of excitement and anticipation,” Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said, an MDHHS Senior Public Health Physician. “The more people who get vaccinated, the safer it will be for us to go about our daily lives and to get back to normal.”

All state restrictions and emergency orders will be lifted when the 70% of eligible Michiganders get at least one shot. Public health experts say that probably won’t happen until August because many people still aren’t and don’t plan on getting vaccinated.

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