Lenawee County Health Department (LCHD), in accordance with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), is updating guidance on masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in indoor settings, including school settings. The updated guidance outlines phases of the COVID-19 cycle as well as how recommendations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 may differ during each phase.
MDHHS has classified stages of the COVID-19 cycle in the following three phases:
Response – Local and state public health implement rapid response to a surge. The public may be advised to increase masking, testing, and social distancing.
Recovery – Post surge. No immediate resurgence predicted. Local and state public health will monitor conditions that could lead to future surges. Community members are empowered to make best choices for their individual situations.
Readiness – A surge of cases is expected, with implications of severity of illness and hospital capacity. Increased communication to the public regarding possible new risks.
Decreases in cases and hospitalizations and increased access to vaccines, testing, treatment, and well-fitting masks indicate that Lenawee County and the state of Michigan are entering a post-surge, recovery phase of this cycle. With the help of community partners, KN95 masks and home test kits are available free of charge at many locations throughout the county. Additional information regarding vaccinations, testing, treatment, and well-fitting masks can be found at www.lenawee.mi.us.
Lenawee County residents should consider their individual and family members’ risk factors and vaccination status, as well as the current state of COVID-19 spread in the community when making the personal decision whether to mask. Those with chronic illnesses or who are immunocompromised are at higher risk for poor outcomes from COVID-19 and would benefit most from masking in indoor settings. These risk factors may include age, medical conditions, and vaccination status.
MDHHS and LCHD recommend that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, continue to mask in high-risk congregate settings including long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, jails, and health care facilities. All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should also wear a mask during isolation and quarantine periods to stop further community spread of COVID-19.
“Vaccines continue to be the best mitigation strategy to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the Covid-19 infection. Also, of great importance is the wearing of good quality masks, especially in high-risk congregate settings, during quarantine and isolation and by individuals at increased risk for severe disease” stated Dr. Dennis Chernin, Medical Director of the Lenawee County Health Department. “If new information becomes available, such as a new variant of concern, public health recommendations may change to ready the community and prepare for possible response changes if indicated”
Lenawee County Health Department will continue to monitor the transmission of COVID-19 closely and will adjust recommendations based on changes in the current phases of COVID-19 outlined by MDHHS.