5 Metro Detroit health agencies recommend masks in indoor public settings

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Health departments in Detroit, Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Washtenaw counties are recommending all residents regardless of vaccination status wear masks in indoor public settings because the COVID-19 infection rate has risen.

All of Metro Detroit has increased from a “medium” to “high” community-level of transmission, indicating that residents are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, the Detroit Health Department said Wednesday.

Transmissibility is considered “high” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when weekly cases increase from 100 or more weekly cases per 100,000 people.

Wayne County has 323 weekly cases per 100,000 people, according to the state health department. As of Monday, Oakland County has 372 cases per 100,000 people, Macomb County has 347 cases per 100,000 and Washtenaw County has 521 cases per 100,000 people.

Per the CDC, people in counties with high transmission rates are recommended to wear masks indoors in public settings, including in K-12 schools.

Cases in Metro Detroit and across Michigan have been rising for more than a month. There are 16 counties that are considered "high" transmission in Michigan. Detroit, Macomb and Wayne counties issued their recommendation Wednesday. Oakland and Washtenaw issued their recommendation on May 12.

COVID cases rose for the sixth straight week as Michigan added 29,267 cases and 78 deaths from the virus on Wednesday, including totals from the previous six days. The state reported an average of about 4,181 cases per day over the seven days, a slight increase from 3,958 cases per day a week prior.

After declining for nearly three months, hospitalization rates in Michigan also increased for the sixth straight week.

Ferndale Public Schools reimposed an indoor mask mandate for staff and students on Monday "to ensure we are doing everything we can do to keep our students and staff healthy and our schools open...," according to a statement posted Friday on the district's website.

Those who are immunocompromised should wear a mask or respirator for greater protection and consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities. Anyone who is exposed should isolate for five days and get tested.

The Detroit Health Department recommends that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals:

  • Wear a mask in indoor public settings or in crowded spaces
  • Get tested if they believe they have been exposed or are showing symptoms
  • Get vaccinated and boosted to lessen COVID-19 symptoms

Those who test positive for COVID-19 should talk to their healthcare provider about treatments like oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies.

The other Michigan counties that remain at a "high" level are Antrim, Benzie, Calhoun, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Livingston, Mackinac, Manistee and St. Clair. Another 28 counties have a "medium" transmission level, according to the state health department.

Detroit is the latest city to be chosen for a nationwide program dubbed "Test to Treat," which city officials billed as a one-stop COVID service. Residents can receive a test, a medical evaluation and if they test positive, receive free antiviral medication.

The Test to Treat program is available at Joseph Walker Williams Center, 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd., from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments must be made in advance by calling (313) 230-0505.

Detroit is among the hardest-hit cities in the nation with 130,586 confirmed cases resulting in 3,428 deaths.

About 42% of all Detroiters 5 and older have been fully vaccinated, compared to 61% of Michigan residents.

“The numbers are showing a rise in cases which we know can cause stress on local hospitals,” said Denise Fair Razo, Detroit Health Department Chief Public Health Officer. “We have worked hard to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and taking these precautions will help us continue to thrive.”


Twitter: @SarahRahal_