According to the Center for Disease Control, the entire state of Michigan is recommended to wear masks indoors and when crowded outdoors. Every county is at least a substantial risk of transmission.
“We’ve been about a month behind some of those early states in the delta surge,” said Dr. Jennifer Morse, medical director for the District Health Department #10.
Less than a month ago, Michigan was looking a lot better than the rest of the country. This week, they look the same with every county in orange and red on the COVID Transmission Tracking Map. Every county is either substantial or high risk for transmission, according to the CDC.
“It’s very likely that what is red will stay red, what is orange will become red,” said Morse, “And will stay that way for a while.”
How long is a while? Health experts can only predict off past experiences.
“There is now the expectation based on the last two surges that our hospitalization peak will be in October,” said Morse, “Hopefully we won’t see it that bad or that long because our vaccination rates are higher now than they were with our last surge.”
Red and orange counties are recommended to wear masks indoors, no matter vaccination status. This is particularly relevant as students are heading back to school.
“I personally talk to schools once a week, and over the last month, have been consistent with messaging which follows the CDC recommended guidelines,” said Morse, “That there should be masking for all school buildings and activities K-12.”
Even with the same recommendation, each district did their own plan. Around Ludington, the Orioles were finalizing their plan Monday but nearby Pentwater and Manistee both went with full mask mandates. Mason County Central? A hybrid, masks only for younger students. Then Mason County Eastern is going with no mandate of any kind.
This is what you see when left to each district, some like that idea while others see a problem.
“The best way would be if we just had a statewide mandate because then it’s uniform throughout the entire state,” said Morse, “We have school districts that do cross county lines and health department lines so it makes it very confusing if it’s left to the individual health department.”