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Health

Detroit, counties advise masking up as COVID cases rise again

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Julian Wan
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COVID-19 cases are heading steadily upward in Michigan, and that’s leading some local health agencies to once again advise people to mask up indoors when they’re in public.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control determines whether there are high community levels of COVID using case counts and hospitalization metrics.

In Michigan, 16 counties and the city of Detroit meet the CDC criteria. That includes all of the counties that make up Metro Detroit, and seven counties in the northwest Lower Peninsula.

The CDC advises indoor masking when community levels are high. Most counties follow that guidance, and Detroit issued its own official masking advisory.

“The numbers are showing a rise in cases which we know can cause stress on local hospitals,” Detroit Health Department Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair Razo said in a statement. “We have worked hard to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and taking these precautions will help us continue to thrive.” Detroit also recently introduced a “test-to-treat” program that offers residents COVID testing, and oral medications meant to prevent severe COVID if they test positive.

However, the masking guidelines are merely advisory. No state or local health agency has reinstated a mask mandate thus far.

Michigan reported a daily average of more than 4,000 cases per day over the past week. However, experts say that’s almost certainly a major undercount, in part due to the prevalence of home testing.

COVID hospitalization rates in Michigan are also climbing, though they remain far below numbers seen in prior surges for now. As of Wednesday, state hospitals had 970 adult inpatients with confirmed COVID.

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