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 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.
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, according to the Detroit Free Press. 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 to 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.