Under the CDC is new three-risk systemasking local officials to look beyond just the new case numbers, most Michigan counties comply with “mask-optional” instructions.
In fact, about 70 percent of the U.S. population can now feel more comfortable walking indoors without a mask, although the CDC makes it clear that people have different levels of risk.
Tiers are based on three factors: number of cases in the community, new hospitalizations related to COVID, and number of beds occupied by patients with COVID. The county’s risk level may be can be found here on the CDC homepageas well as more a detailed list of recommendations, including a vaccination recommendation from COVID-19.
As part of the new CDC advisory system:
- Residents of low-level counties should consider wearing a mask based on “personal preference, depending on your personal level of risk”.
- Residents of mid-level counties should talk to their doctor and think about indoor masks if they have lowered immunity or are at high risk for serious illness. Anyone who lives with someone at high risk of serious illness or has social contacts should consider testing and camouflage indoors.
- Residents of high-level counties should wear the mask in public places, including K-12 schools and other public places, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk.
The new leadership was not unexpected.
Less than a month ago, as Omicron continued to beat the country and Michigan, the CDC intensified mask recommendations, asking people to wear the N95 or any other high-quality mask they could wear comfortably and “permanently”.
But since then cases and hospitalizations have dropped dramatically.
In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer scored back state mask recommendations a little over a week ago, even though the last few county health departments, which still had mandates for masks at school, repealed their own.
Some mandates were immediately revoked; others – including Auckland and Washington counties – went into effect Feb. 28, meaning students would return to optional classes on Monday.
But expect to see masks in many places in Michigan, at least in the near future. For example, Michigan hospitals are likely to maintain a mask policy for visitors. Representatives of some of the largest health systems – the recently combined health systems Spectrum and Beaumont, known as BHSH, Trinity Health Michigan and Michigan Medicine – said patients and visitors still need to be disguised.
And the mask mandate remained in effect on Friday in the public district of Detroit Public Schools and is likely to remain for some time, according to a statement by Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Viti, noting once again “lower vaccination rates in the city and higher transmission rates. ”
It is unlikely that these recommendations will change the daily behavior of many in a state where residents have already decided to keep or abandon masks. The guide makes it clear that the level of risk for all may vary, especially for those with immunodeficiency or high risk severe COVID disease.
But for others, Friday’s announcement is forcing another challenging count.
Shoppers at The Rocket, a gift and candy store in downtown Ypsilanti, had to wear masks until Friday, according to a sign on the front door that stood next to a large bottle of hand sanitizer.
“The new CDC guide“ gives the green light for everyone to come to the store and create problems for you, ”said owner Eli Morrissey.
So he said reduce the instructions to “recommend” the mask. He said more and more angry customers were harassing his staff.
“Abuse has made it very difficult for my staff,” he said. “It’s hard to secure a mask policy if no one else” doesn’t require a mask.
Bridge reporter Mike Wilkinson contributed to this report.