WATCH: MDHHS issues mask advisory for holiday season as COVID-19 cases rise

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Posted at 9:07 AM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 10:24:27-05

LANSING, Mich. — With the increasing rise in COVID-19 and flu cases, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will issue a face mask advisory and offer a guidance to keep loved ones safe and prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses during the holidays.

The advisory will recommend everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask at indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status, according to a news release.

In addition, establishments should implement a policy to ensure everyone – including employees – wears a mask.

This advisory will remain in effect “until further notice.”

“The increases in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations have us very concerned,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “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.”

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In addition to the MDHHS advisory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued recommendations for safe gatherings including getting vaccinated, wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands. Mask wearing is recommended for everyone in indoor public settings in areas of high transmission and indoors for those who are not vaccinated.

“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 at MDHHS. “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.”

Health officials also encouraged getting the flu vaccine, which can be administered at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials held a briefing Friday morning explaining their recommendations. Watch it here: