Michigan Extends COVID-19 Restrictions Adds Child Mask Requirements
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has extended COVID-19 related restrictions through May 24 and tightened mask rules for young children.
On Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) extended its Gatherings and Mask epidemic order which was set to expire in less than two weeks. The state health department said the order was designed to balance day-to-day activities while controlling the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.
The new order did not tighten the existing restrictions, it did however include an expansion of mask requirements to children ages 2 to 4. The release from the MDHHS says expanding the mask rule to children ages 2 to 4 requires a good faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps. The order keeps the same restrictions already in effect on indoor dining, gatherings, gyms, event spaces.
The extended order and tightened mask rules for children take effect on April 26, 2021. MDHHS says this is to address the increase in cases among younger children and follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
As of Friday, April 16, the state reports 29.5% of Michigan residents 16 and older have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and 44% had received at least a first dose.
MDHHS says it has been closely monitoring three metrics for stabilization or declines over the past several weeks. Michigan's metrics have been increasing for the past few weeks, although the rate of increase is starting to decline. The presence of more infectious variants, such as the B 1.1.7 variant, threatens progress in control of the epidemic and MDHHS will be monitoring data closely. In recent days:
- Positivity rate: had increased for eight weeks but has seen a recent 5-day decline to 17.1%. However, this metric remains up 390% from the mid-February low and remains above the December peak of 14.4%.
- Statewide case rate: This metric has increased over the past eight weeks to 613.9 cases per million. The rate is more than 475% higher than the low in mid-February but remains below the peak of 737.8 cases per million on Saturday, Nov 14.
- Hospital capacity: The percent of inpatient beds dedicated to those with COVID-19 is now at 18.8%. This metric peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and is up 373% from the February low.