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Face mask advisory issued for holiday season due to rise in flu, COVID-19 cases

A Public Health Advisory will recommend everyone over the age of 2 wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status.
One Santa in Colorado isn't letting the pandemic stand in his way of spreading holiday cheer.
One Santa in Colorado isn't letting the pandemic stand in his way of spreading holiday cheer.
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 10:34 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Citing the increasing rise in COVID-19 and flu cases, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will be issuing a face mask advisory and offering help to keep loved ones safe and prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses during the holidays.

MDHHS will be issuing a Public Health Advisory recommending everyone over the age of 2 wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status.

Additionally, establishments should implement a policy to ensure that anyone entering or seeking services, including employees, wear a mask.

This face mask advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

“The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We are issuing the face mask advisory and are looking to Michiganders to do their part to help protect their friends, their families and their communities by wearing a mask in indoor settings and getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu as soon as possible if they have not already done so.”

It is also encouraged to get the flu vaccine which can be administered at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine. If you or family members are unwell, remain home, get tested and let close contacts know as soon as possible if you test positive for COVID-19. If you are infected with COVID-19, seek treatment with monoclonal antibodies.

“COVID-19 cases are high as we head into the holidays, and we must take every measure we can to keep our families and loved ones safe – which starts with getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are available to children ages 5 and up, and boosters are available for eligible Michiganders. The holidays can be a time to spread great cheer and we recommend taking measures including wearing a mask indoors to not spread COVID-19 to loved ones.”

If you are considering traveling, it is recommended that you be fully vaccinated or delay travel until you have achieved the fully vaccinated status. In addition to getting vaccinated, you should get tested for COVID-19 both before and after you travel. If members of your family are unable to be vaccinated, CDC offers safer travel tips including wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and washing hands often.

MDHHS follows CDC guidance in offering the following special considerations for holiday gatherings:

Immunocompromised people should take all precautions of unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask.

Choose to wear a mask if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated.

If you are gathering with groups from multiple households from different areas across the state and country, consider additional precautions like getting tested for COVID-19 to reduce the risk of spreading to loved ones.

To maximize protection from COVID-19 for age-eligible children and adults, get vaccinated as soon as you can. To find a vaccine near you, visit VaccineFinder.org.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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