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State-local mask recommendations differ causing confusion across Michigan

State-local mask recommendations differ causing confusion across Michigan
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 6:50 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As the omicron surge evolves, the state’s ongoing COVID response is evolving with it.

Feb. 18, 2022: Coronavirus Report: Michigan reports 3,827 new cases, 112 deaths over past two days

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is expiring its mask recommendation for most public settings, including in schools.

Mid-Michigan schools are already dropping their mask mandate, the most recent being Mason Public Schools. However, some schools said now is not the time.

In a vote by the Lansing School Districts Board of Education, the board decided that the district will keep its mask mandate until further notice. Dr. Gahran Bhatti, who spoke at the meeting said their decision is based on current hospital rates.

Read: Why the Lansing School District voted to keep its mask mandate

“As long as our hospital occupancy is as high as it is, now would not be the appropriate time to let our guard down,” said Dr. Bhatti.

Sparrow Hospital currently has 97% of their beds taken, while McLaren Greater Lansing has 89% of their beds taken. However, some doctors said trends suggest those rates will drop soon.

Dr. Paul Entler, with Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, said he expects hospitalizations to drop because of the Omicron Variant’s transmission rates.

“So what has worked before may not be the best at this point given the significant amount of transmission that has happened with the Omicron Variant,” said Dr. Entler.

The transmission rate was so high, Dr. Entler said by now, almost everybody has come in contact with it. He believes this is why we’re seeing so many mask mandates expire.

“I am quite confident we have a significant amount of immunity that really, masks offer no additional benefits at this point,” said Dr. Entler.

However, he adds that schools deciding to keep mask mandates are not in the wrong for doing whatever they feel is best for their community.

For additional information on Michigan’s updated mask guidelines click here.

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