MDHHS Issuing Face Mask Advisory for Holiday Season

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that it will issue a face mask advisory for the holiday season, citing an increasing rise in COVID-19 and flu cases.

The public health advisory recommends everyone over the age of 2 should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings, regardless of vaccination status. The advisory also recommends that all establishments implement a face mask policy. The mask advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

“The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We are issuing the face mask advisory and are looking to Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, their families and their communities by wearing a mask in indoor settings and getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu as soon as possible if they have not already done so.”

In addition to the MDHHS advisory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued recommendations for safe gatherings including getting vaccinated, wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands. Mask wearing is considered an effective mitigation strategy and is recommended for all in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission and indoors for those who are not vaccinated. Practice social distancing when possible, especially in places where the vaccination status of those around you is unknown.

“COVID-19 cases are high as we head into the holidays, and we must take every measure we can to keep our families and loved ones safe – which starts with getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are available to children ages 5 and up, and boosters are available for eligible Michiganders. The holidays can be a time to spread great cheer and we recommend taking measures including wearing a mask indoors to not spread COVID-19 to loved ones.”

The MDHHS is encouraging anyone who hasn’t received a flu or COVID-19 vaccine to do so.

“What we’re seeing is truly unprecedented,” said Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, who shared that Spectrum Health currently has 370 hospitalized COVID-19 patients — 86% of those patients are unvaccinated. “Our teams are tired but working hard to care for their communities. We’re counting on people to help us by getting vaccinated or getting a booster dose if eligible, wearing masks and being smart about holiday gatherings.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus Cases