Michigan to issue advisory urging masks amid COVID-19 outbreak – .

Michigan to issue advisory urging masks amid COVID-19 outbreak – .

Lansing – The Michigan Department of Heath and Human Services plans to issue a public health notice before Thanksgiving, recommending that all people over the age of 2 wear a mask during indoor gatherings, regardless of their immunization status. The notice, which is not a warrant, comes six days before the vacation amid a growing number of infections in the state. It will also encourage establishments to implement policies to ensure that all entering, including employees, wear a mask, according to a press release.
“The increase in the number of cases, the percentage of positivity and the hospitalizations are of great concern to us,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state’s health department.

“We are posting the face mask advisory and expect Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, families and communities by wearing a face mask indoors and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu as soon as possible if they haven’t already. “ The face mask notice will remain in effect until further notice, according to Friday’s announcement.

Michigan led the country in the number of new cases per population over the previous seven days on Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking.

The state on Wednesday reported 3,197 adults hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus, the highest number since late April and a 49% increase from the tally two weeks earlier. The percentage of COVID-19 tests yielding positive results, a key metric for tracking the virus, has been on the rise for months. Last week, it hit 16.4%, the second highest weekly rate since June 2020. Michigan’s first COVID cases were reported in March 2020. State officials are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The outbreak is affecting “a lot more” the unvaccinated than those who have been vaccinated, said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan medical director.

What happens next will depend on people’s actions, Bagdasarian said.

“I think if we can change the behaviors and we can get people to start disguising themselves and increasing these vaccination rates, we are hopeful that this will end soon. If the behavior doesn’t change, I think we’re going to go through a very difficult winter season, ”Bagdasarian said.

In the 30-day period ending Nov. 5, as the rise in infections accelerated in Michigan, only 27 percent of new cases were fully vaccinated people, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Rights. Social services.

Friday’s COVID-19 press conference was the department’s first in months.

On the decision to encourage masks instead of requiring them, Hertel said that at this point, the department thinks it is “more prudent” to ensure that people are aware of “the severity of this outbreak. of COVID right now “and to give them the ability and the information” to take action to protect themselves and others through a public health advisory. ” Hertel said the department will continue to monitor the data and make “decisions as we see what happens in the state.”

“It is my sincerest hope that Michiganders will take this message very seriously, ahead of the holidays as they begin to meet their close friends and families and the people they love and do all they can for. protect themselves and the people they are there, ”Hertel said.

In a similar increase a year ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration shut down dining inside restaurants and suspended in-person classes at high schools and colleges in an attempt to combat the increase the number of cases and hospitalizations.

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