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Law enforcement, healthcare workers still reporting to work during stay at home order

Workers who sustain or protect life aren't required to sequester themselves inside their homes. Healthcare workers and law enforcement are among them.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order, directing all Michigan businesses and operations to suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.

Healthcare workers and members of law enforcement are among several workforces that were exempt from the order, as their responsibilities are expected to heighten. 

"The governor's executive order today is going to make it more difficult for [coronavirus] to spread person to person," said Adam London, who is the Administrative Health Officer with the Kent County Health Department. "I applaud the order."

London says it may be a while yet before the impact of the governor's order is known, but by eliminating as much person-to-person contact as possible, that will lessen the severity of the pandemic.

"I expect the numbers are going to dramatically increase for some time yet," added London, referring to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan. "Most of the models I have been looking at show that the peak of this epidemic is probably not until late-April to mid-May."

RELATED: Michigan's stay at home order: What am I allowed to do?

London strongly believes the order will also keep local hospitals from being overwhelmed, maybe not immediately, but soon than they likely would have been.

"If nothing had been done, we know that the demand on our healthcare institutions will quickly exacerbate," added London. "[Hospitals] are really the front line in this battle and if they become overrun, then we're going to see the worst outcomes accelerate."

Law enforcement will continue to patrol the community streets during the governor's order.

"We're going to be here and we're going to continue to provide emergency responses in your need," said Michelle LaJoye-Young, Kent County Sheriff. 

LaJoye-Young says her deputies won't be out proactively finding people who are violating the order, but people will be dealt with if they're found to be in violation.

RELATED: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issues stay at home order to curb coronavirus

'"This isn't the time for you to be out if you don;t have an essential need, " added LaJoye-Young. "We'll educate first, but certainly we have the ability to enforce if somebody refuses to respond to their public responsibility."

If found in violation, it'll be a misdemeanor.

"Our community will remain safe throughout this pandemic if we continue to follow the executive orders and out health professionals' orders," said LaJoye-Young. "Be healthy, safe and try not to be bored because that's often what leads to trouble."

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