The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced an indoor mask advisory for people two years old and older ahead of the holiday season, regardless of vaccination status.
The announcement came Friday morning via a virtual press conference that was shared live on Facebook by WXYZ.
WATCH LIVE: MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian and more speak on staying safe against COVID-19 going into the holidays.
Posted by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 on Friday, November 19, 2021
“Today, we are issuing a public health advisory that recommends that everyone over the age of two should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings, regardless of their vaccination status,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said .
“In addition, establishments should implement policies to ensure that people entering or seeking services, including employees are wearing masks,” Hertel continued. “This face mask advisory takes effect immediately and remains in effect until further notice.”
The move comes as Michigan leads the country in new positive cases of the Chinese coronavirus per 100,000 people over the past seven days.
As of November 19, Michigan registered 589.3 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Minnesota registered the second most at 524.3 cases per 100,000 people, while New Mexico is third with 465.3 per 100,000 people.
“The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” Hertel stated at the virtual press conference, per Fox 2. “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.”
Hertel was asked if the MDHHS has plans for more substantial restrictions and advisories if cases continue to trend upward.
“After Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays, we will continue to watch those case rates and other indicators very, very closely and make determinations as we see what transpires across the state,” Hertel, in part, responded.
The MDHHS also emphasized inoculation for children aged five through eleven as the CDC greenlit vaccine use in the age group earlier in November.
“But vaccine uptake has not been as strong in our younger age groups as it has been in our older adults,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian. “We now have a safe and effective vaccine approved for this over the age of five, and we continue to encourage everyone to receive a dose of vaccine as soon as possible if you haven’t already.”