By Jessica Mathews /

Thursday marked six months since Michigan recorded its first cases of the coronavirus and state officials are cautioning against social gatherings and playdates amid continued outbreaks.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer was joined by leaders in education, business, labor, and workforce development at a press conference held Thursday morning. Michigan was said to be serving as a model for states across the country when comes to fighting COVID-19 and continues to ramp up testing to around 30,000 a day. It was noted the state is seeing different patterns regionally when it comes to case trends and over the past 30 days, approximately 19,000 cases have been diagnose.

Michigan Department Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said the state continues to aggressively track outbreaks and the top five categories for outbreaks include nursing facilities, manufacturing, healthcare, social gatherings and restaurants. Khaldun emphasized the importance of continuing to be vigilant as children go back to school and wearing masks correctly, washing hands and social distancing. Khaldun said cases in a community can easily spread to homes, schools and other places and the sooner the state can get case rates down; the sooner more students can return to in-person learning.

As a mother of three, Khaldun commented that part of the fun of childhood is having gatherings with friends and playdates – adding social interaction is important for a child’s well-being. However, she asked that parents consider not having those as they normally would and try to be creative. For those who must, Khaldun advised keeping it as small as possible and noted outdoor is safe than indoor but not 100%. Khaldun stressed every time there’s a gathering, there is a risk someone will have COVID-19. She said not only can it spread to others and make them very ill but cause significant disruption if someone is identified as a close contact and they have to stay of work or school for two weeks.

It was noted that as of last Friday, there were 61 new outbreaks identified at the local health department level - which was 32 fewer than the previous week and said to be a great sign. Khaldun said there are 157 ongoing outbreaks across the state – which is 65 fewer than they were tracking the previous week. She said they’ll continue to watch outbreaks closely and next week they’ll be posting information about outbreaks at schools, including colleges, on the state coronavirus website.