The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that people in 16 Michigan counties return to wearing masks in indoor public places as the coronavirus rises and hospital admissions rise.
The CDC updated its map Thursday night with details on community risk from COVID-19, showing all of metro Detroit now in the high-risk category, as well as many in the northwestern lower peninsula.
Those counties are: Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, St. Clair, Chippewa, Mackinac, Emmet, Cheboygan, Antrim, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Manistee, and Calhoun.
In those 16 high-risk countries, the CDC recommends wearing a mask in indoor public places, keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, and getting tested if you’re symptomatic.
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Another 28 Michigan counties now have moderate transmission levels, according to the CDC.
These are: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Marquette, Presque Isle, Alpena, Montmorency, Otsego, Alcona, Crawford, Charlevoix, Leelanau, Kent, Barry, Kalamazoo, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Isabella, Ingham, Shiawassee, Saginaw, Midland, Bay, Genesee, Sanilac, Monroe, Lenawee, Jackson.
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The recommendation in those communities is to talk to your health care provider about wearing a mask or taking other precautions if you are at high risk for serious illness with COVID-19. In addition, the CDC suggests staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you are symptomatic.
Cases and hospitalizations in the state are again on the rise as the rapidly spreading ommicron subvariants BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 become more popular.
On Wednesday, the state’s health department reported that 823 people had been hospitalized with coronavirus — about 90% more than a month ago, when 430 people with the virus received hospital care.
It’s nowhere near the level of hospitalization Michigan saw in January, when the state hit pandemic peaks with more than 4,600 people hospitalized with the virus.
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The state hit a seven-day average of 3,958 new daily cases on Wednesday — the highest since February, when Michigan passed its first ommicron spike.
While few pandemic restrictions are in place yet, people can still choose to take steps to protect themselves by getting vaccinated, boosting and using some tried-and-true mitigation measures, according to Emily Martin, associate professor. associate professor of epidemiology for the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
“Although the political landscape has changed and the recommendation landscape has changed, the same things are working now as they were a few months ago,” Martin said in a Twitter Space chat discussing the future of COVID-19.
“Masks still work, and higher quality masks still provide a higher level of protection. Being outdoors is still better than indoors, and being in less crowded areas is still…better than crowded areas.”
Treatments such as the antiviral drug Paxlovid are now available that may reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from the virus. Monoclonal antibody therapy is also an option for people who are vulnerable.
“And the sooner you test, the sooner you access treatment, and the sooner… you use them, the better they work,” Martin said. “There are things we can do with a positive result to make you feel better. And so it’s important to test so you know you’re positive so you can seek treatment.”
Contact Kristen Shamus: email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.
Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.