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Sunday, Oct. 11: Latest developments on coronavirus in Michigan

Over 104,000 Michiganders have recovered from the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, state health officials say.

The state releases new data on recoveries every Saturday. Last weekend, the recoveries were at 99,521.

Michigan reported 1,522 new coronavirus cases Oct. 10, bringing the statewide total to 134,656, according to Saturday’s update from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Health officials also reported 15 new deaths of people with the virus, bringing the state’s running death toll to 6,891. The state’s case fatality rate is 5.3%.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s top Senate Republican lawmaker says he is in favor of rolling back many of the measures put in place by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to limit COVID-19 spread and believes “an element of herd immunity” needs to happen in the state.

Here are the latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic for Monday, Oct. 5.

Michigan needs ‘an element of herd immunity’ to recover from coronavirus, Senate leader says

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, said he feels Michigan residents understand that COVID-19 is real, contagious and requires precautions.

But he also believes the state doesn’t need to continue with the “oppressive mandates” issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, he told MLive following a rally protesting strict COVID-19 restrictions.

“Nobody should be misled here or of the opinion that you can keep it from spreading – it’s going to spread, so we just do the best we can,” he continued.

“I’m also a big believer that there’s an element of herd immunity that needs to take place.”

But MDHHS spokesperson Lynn Sutfin told MLive last month the department favors reaching higher immunity levels through widespread vaccination as opposed to letting COVID-19 run through the population and is urging Michigan residents to minimize transmission until a vaccine is universally available.

“Since we do not know whether immunity is long-lasting, nor do we know the long-term effects of COVID-19, Michigan does not support allowing 80% of Michiganders being infected with this novel virus,” Sutfin said at the time.

Michigan’s health department is switching gears after a game-changing Supreme Court decision

A new state department is taking the reins when it comes to the rules people in Michigan have to follow during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Until this past week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) had taken a back seat when it came to issuing orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Instead, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration relied heavily on two state statutes that gave the governor broad power to issue executive orders under the looming threat of the emergency that is a global pandemic. The 1976 Emergency Management Act and/or the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act were the basis for a wide swath of orders issued by Whitmer, including requiring masks in public spaces, limits on crowd sizes, and requiring various establishments like movie theaters and gyms to stay closed for months.

“She had the broadest authority, and had authorities that we did not