Politics

Whitmer’s Health Director Reportedly Vacationed As Michigan’s Coronavirus Cases Surged

(Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services director reportedly vacationed as the state’s coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surged.

Elizabeth Hertel traveled to Alabama’s gulf coast with her family, “but was regularly updated on Michigan’s growing COVID-19 case numbers and was available to issue any new public health orders, if necessary,” according to Lansing, Michigan-based MIRC News, which first reported the trip. The report follows Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s urging Michigan residents to stay home and limit travel as much as possible.

One week earlier, Whitmer’s chief operating officer, Tricia Foster, vacationed to Florida even as she was tasked with overseeing the state’s vaccine rollout. (RELATED: Whitmer Calls For Two-Week Reopening Pause Amid Surging Cases)

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer receives a dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine at Ford Field during an event to promote and encourage Michigan residents to get the vaccine on April 6, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. As the US reaches a milestone in vaccinations, a surge of new Covid-19 cases has swept through the US with Michigan seeing the highest numbers of new cases. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

Governor Gretchen Whitmer receives a dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A spokesman for Michigan’s HHS office declined to comment, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that the office “did not discuss the director’s personal schedule.”

Hertel took over for Robert Gordon, who abruptly resigned in January. Gordon did not originally disclose why he resigned, though he cited policy disagreements between himself and the governor and said that she was entitled to have a director “with whom she is comfortable.”

Ted Goodman, a spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, described Hertel’s actions as “brazen” and as “truly something else.”

“The fact that Whitmer and her top staff travel out of state on vacation as Michigan faces the worst COVID number of every state in the country just reveals the arrogance and condescending nature of this administration,” he told the DCNF. “Whitmer’s position on the draconian lockdown orders is simple – rules for thee, but not for me.”

Michigan’s coronavirus cases have skyrocketed since February, even as vaccinations have picked up across the state. Cases and deaths in the state have increased 47% and 79% in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database.

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