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Michigan drops recommendation for masking in most public indoor spaces

MDHHS withdraws public health advisory as Michigan enters recovery phase
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Posted at 1:11 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 13:11:53-05

(WXYZ) — The State of Michigan is updating its guidance on mask-wearing in most indoor spaces, withdrawing the public health advisory that recommended indoor masking.

According to the state, it comes amid a decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Previously, they had recommended masking for everyone in indoor public spaces, including schools.

Last week, many counties began dropping their mask mandates for schools in Michigan.

Health officials said Michigan is now entering a "post-surge, recovery phase" of the pandemic.

The state is recommending that people wear masks in high-congregate settings, including long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, healthcare facilities and more.

"This is good news for Michigan," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. "While Michigan hasn't had statewide mask policies since last June, this updated guidance will underscore that we are getting back to normal. Let's keep working together to build on our momentum so we can keep our kids learning in person.”

“Individuals and families should assess their own risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission and make choices about when it makes sense to wear masks,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel added in a statement. “We want to make sure individuals and local communities have the information and tools they need to make choices for their families based on their personal situation and local community conditions. We continue to strongly urge all residents ages 5 and older get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and to get boosted when eligible as the vaccine continues to be our best defense against the virus.”

While the state hasn't required the use of masks in public spaces, they have recommended it.

According to the MDHHS, the state will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission and things could adjust if conditions change.

Cases have been rapidly declining from the omicron surge in January, and hospitalizations have been decreasing every day for over a month.

“For the past several months, we have been in a response phase as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surged,” MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said in a statement. “With the continued decline in cases and hospitalizations, we are now entering a post-surge, recovery phase. As we move through the phases of our COVID-19 response our recommendations will be updated to reflect the current status of transmission, but we will continue to prioritize public health and promote health and wellness for all families and communities.”