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Health

MDHHS extends epidemic order, strengthens mask requirement for children

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Kelly Sikkema
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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended its Gatherings and Mask epidemic order on Friday until May 24.

The order includes expansion of mask requirements to children ages 2 to 4 to further protect the state’s residents. That part of the order takes effect April 26.

This addresses the increase in cases among younger Michiganders and follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, according to MDHHS.“We know that wearing a mask significantly reduces the spread of infection and should be part of the comprehensive strategy to reduce COVID-19—including for children age 2 and up,” said Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MIAAP) President Dr. Matthew Hornik. “Use of masks does not restrict oxygen in the lungs even in children, it is recommended to wear a mask with layers to filter droplets effectively.” 

"Michigan continues to implement smart health policies and mitigation measures to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “This includes the requirement to wear a mask while in public and at gatherings, limits on indoor residential social gatherings larger than 15 people with no more than three households, and expanded testing requirements for youth sports. Additionally, the most important thing people can do right now is to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their families, and help us eliminate this virus once and for all.”

As of today, 29.5% of Michigan residents 16 and older had been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and 44% had received at least a first dose.

"More than 5.5 million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccines have been administered in Michigan, and we are well on our way to vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and up," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. 

"However, I continue to be incredibly concerned about our state’s COVID-19 data. We are still very much fighting this pandemic and seeing concerning trends in new cases and hospitalizations. Michiganders need to be using every tool in our toolbox right now to get these cases and hospitalizations down. Just because something is open and legal does not mean you should be doing it. We all must continue doing what works to slow the spread of the disease by wearing masks, washing our hands, avoiding crowds and indoor gatherings, and making plans to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”

An infographic that highlights order requirements can be found on Michigan’s COVID-19 website.

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